chapter  6
22 Pages

Governments and the Olympic system

For around 30 years, the Olympic system has needed to handle questions of public order to an ever increasing extent. In other words, the sports order that it has patiently constituted during the twentieth century is now finding itself regularly confronted by public authorities and the juridical orders they engender at a national or international level. Since the 1960s, the United Nations system has become interested in

international sport. As of 1972, boycotts of the Games by certain governments seriously affected the Olympic system. The European Union (EU) and its member states have been particularly active regarding the sports sector since 1995: the year when the Court of Justice of the European Communities rendered its famous “Bosman ruling” (see later in this chapter), although its first decision concerning sport dates from 1974. The end of the twentieth century was particularly significant for

sport thanks to renewed problems of doping, corruption and violence: problems that led states to become increasingly involved in the governance of world sport and to force the Olympic system to adapt and to develop new ways of working with the public authorities. This chapter thus begins by presenting the links between the IOC

and Switzerland, its host state, and then those between the Olympic system and that of the United Nations. Finally, the gradual involvement of European governments in sports-related issues via the Council of Europe and the European Union is described. The various national sport policies are not handled here because they only affect world sport indirectly, and moreover have been the subject of considerable analysis in other works (e.g. Callède in France,1 Houlihan in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth,2 Riordan for the Soviet Union3).