RICH: ‘Wicked problems’: Government involvement in sport is fraught with issues

Kyle Rich, Assistant Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University, had a piece recently published in The Conversation about the complex landscape of sport participation in Canada.

He writes:

“People will soon be tuning into the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics — the second Olympics hosted during the pandemic and one that has come under much criticism. 

It was recently announced that tickets won’t be sold to the public. Scholars and activists have continuously called for a boycott of the Games on the grounds of humans rights abuses. And many people are left wondering why the event would even be hosted given the ongoing global health crisis.

These developments have drawn much attention to the politics and political structures underlying the Olympic Games and sport more broadly.

While it is often suggested that we should keep the politics out of sport, the public is generally coming to accept how sport is inherently political. 

In Canada, we have a national sport policy, and the “encouragement, development, and promotion of sport” is identified as the responsibility of the government through the Department of Canadian Heritage Act.

My research program currently focuses on understanding sport participation in diverse community contexts. This involves mapping the surprisingly complex system of structures that support sport participation and the ways that they vary across provinces and regions.”

Continue reading the full article on The Conversation website.

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