Richard Tacon and Geoff Walters focus on the current trend towards codification of governance in sport by examining what happens when national sport federations formally adopt codes of governance. They find that code adoption constitutes ‘external legitimacy work’, in that board of sport federations initially decide to adopt codes of governance as a means of demonstrating credibility to external stakeholders. The risk is, then, that a focus on formal adoption and compliance will prevail over a substantive approach that seeks to embed principles. Moreover, by seeking legitimacy from funders and commercial sponsors by appearing more ‘business-like’ in their governance arrangements, sport federations risk alienating many of their (grassroots) members. The authors conclude that a ‘tricky balance’ must be struck between obtaining external legitimacy by adopting a code of good governance and avoiding divisions within the existing structures of sports, which can ultimately harm organisational effectiveness.