- Critically examine how Government's attitude and policy to...
Critically examine how Government's attitude and policy towards sport has changed and evolved over the last 25 years.
How do we define the concept of sport? Usually the words
leisure, play, free-time, competition and physical activity spring
to mind. However, researchers generally struggle to agree on a
generic definition of what constitutes sport. Coakley (2004)
however defines sport as an
"institutionalised and competitive range of activities that
involve vigorous physical exercise or the use of relatively complex
physical skills by individuals whose participation is motivated by
a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors".
Overall it is clear to see that sport has become a key area for
governments over the last 25 years. As Coghlan (1990: 142)
suggests, "sport and politics will continue to mix, the debate must
always be not 'whether' but 'how' they should mix in Great Britain
so that the interests of sport and the government of the day
coincide and do not conflict".
While Margaret Thatcher and her 'free market' Conservative
government paid little attention to the role of sport in
contemporary society throughout the 1980s, her successor John Major
ensured that sport remained part of a well rounded education and
lifestyle in the early 1990s. Since 1997 Blair and his New Labour
government have grabbed sport by the neck and transformed it,
through various government acts, into an activity that has now
become 'free for all'. Sport has indeed become an integral part of
life for an increasingly large number of the population. But what
about the future? The International Olympic Committee's
decision to award the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics Games to
London was a tremendous honour and achievement and a wonderful
tribute to the skill and passion of all those involved in the bid.
The UK now has a once in a lifetime opportunity to stage the
greatest show on earth and to transform its sporting, cultural and
social landscape once again. (www.culture.gov.uk)