chapter  6
12 Pages

The global governance of sport: an overview

ByJean-Loup Chappelet

From a pastime reserved for a few privileged amateurs in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century, sport has since become a phenomenon that concerns millions – whether they practise sport or are fans of it – and that continues to develop throughout the world. Globalisation both drives and strengthens it (Maguire, 1999). Sport is a major social phenomenon, and thus has major economic, environmental and political consequences. Despite its importance, however, sport is subject to very little state regulation, notably on the international level. Since its emergence in England in the eighteenth century, it has in fact been taken in hand by a wide spectrum of self-governed, private organisations on a local and national level (clubs, leagues, national federations or governing bodies, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), organising committees of events), and also on an international level (International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Sports Federations (IFs)). Certain clubs date from the mid-nineteenth century, and many national Olympic sports federations were established in Europe at the end of the same century. The IOC was founded in 1894, and most of the IFs were created at the beginning of the twentieth century. Nowadays, as several authors have suggested, these global sport organisations have self-governance problems (e.g. Sugden and Tomlinson, 1998; Forster, 2006; Chappelet and Kübler-Mablott, 2008). This chapter is divided into four parts. The first part outlines the organisation of global sport as it developed over the twentieth century in an autonomous fashion. The second shows how governments and intergovernmental organisations intervened in this self-governed system at the end of the twentieth century. The third part explains how the global sports organisations reacted to governmental intervention by advocating their specificity and autonomy, and by adopting principles of good governance. The last part maps the way beyond the governance of sports organisations to a global governance of sport seen as a global policy outcome.