PtG Article 07.11.2005

Politicians exploit sport instead of nurturing it

Sport has been "used and abused" by politicians everywhere and down the ages with personal and political agendas according to Terry Monnington, director of Warwick University’s Department of Physical Education and Sport.

Speaking at Play the Game 2005, Terry Monning stressed that the leading lights of the political arena "exploit" sport  instead of trying to "nurture and protect" it, and he cited Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher among those open to the charge.

That Third World countries, especially African ones, were very often obliged to cope with the politician using sport as his launching pad was mentioned by Monnington, too.

Recalling how sport had come as grist to the former US president's mills with the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and how Britain's ex-prime minister fell back upon it to defuse simmering social tensions fomented by intractable economic difficulties even though she was not really all that enthusiastic about humanity's athletic endeavours, Monnington said that sport had frequently had to perform functions it was not originally designed for.

Third World countries, he said, abounded in examples of leaders like Kenyatta of Kenya making sport suit their personal purposes, diverting it from its generally accepted objectives.  


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