Chapter Two: Cultural Globalization

VII. Organizational and Commercial Trends Towards Cultural Globalization

VIIC: Sport

While education and health have been seen as a primary responsibility of national governance for quite a long time, at any rate since the beginning of the 20th century, governments have not concerned themselves overmuch with sport until relatively recently, and then more from a 'patriotic' perspective than with regulatory or supervisory intent. This has not prevented the emergence of global sporting bodies; if anything, perhaps, it has given them more freedom to make and enforce rules.

Sporting Organizations:

The General Association of International Sports Federations says it is the only forum 'bringing together the whole of sports organizations once a year to exchange viewpoints on themes of common interest'.

Among the objectives laid down in its Statutes, GAISF is to:

GAISF's General Assembly met in Lausanne on 5 November 1988 to agree a text which 'specifies the means and the practical goals of GAISF's International Member Federations and expresses most of all the international sports movement's will to preserve sport's fundamental values, and most particularly its educational aspects, despite the strong pressures to which it is presently confronted'.

The Olympic Movement includes the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs), the National Olympic Committees (NOCs), the International Federations (IFs), the national associations, clubs and, of course, the athletes.

The IOC Juridical Commission was created in 1974. Its terms of reference include carrying out studies of a legal nature on issues which may affect the interests of the IOC.

In 1999, the International Olympic Committee's (IOC's) Executive Board created an independent Ethics Commission comprising eight members. The Ethics Commission has three roles:

The IOC has developed a highly prescriptive framework for Olympic marketing, which it requires national host governments to incorporate into national law. Nothing could more clearly demonstrate the impact of globalised (shall we call it oligarchic?) sport on national prerogatives.

Perhaps though the most noticeable feature of the IOC's world judicial role is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which 'promotes and coordinates the worldwide fight against doping in all its forms'. A major initiative of the new organization has been the development of the World Anti-Doping Code ("Code"), finalized in 2003, and which has been adopted by a large majority of countries.

Federation Internationale des Football Associations

Many sports have global status and organizations to match, but superstar status has to be accorded to football, which is the nearest thing there is to a global sport. FIFA has considerable legislative and judicial power which in many respects over-rules or has spawned national legislation.

FIFA was founded in 1904, although the stand-offish British did not join for some years. FIFA now has more than 200 national member associations.

Key FIFA regulations are those for the status and transfer of players, for players' agents, and for match agents. There is a Dispute Resolution Chamber. The FIFA disciplinary code encompasses doping, corruption, arbitration, racism, stadium bans and ineligibilty and provides for the Disciplinary Committee and an Appeal Committee. In keeping with FIFA's policy regarding the separation of decision-making powers, members of these committees reach their decisions entirely independently. They receive no instructions from any other body, and may not sit on any other FIFA committee.

From very early on, clubs and players were forbidden to play simultaneously for different National Associations, and disciplinary action taken by one member association was automatically recognized by all others. Only FIFA alone was entitled to handle the organisation of an international competition. Outsiders were forbidden to organise matches for lucrative purposes. In 1905, when the "English Ramblers", an improvised English football club, wanted to play games on the continent without the authorization of the Football Association, FIFA forbade its members from playing against this team.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport came into existence in the 1980s. All Olympic International Federations but one, and many National Olympic Committees have recognised the jurisdiction of the CAS and included in their statutes an arbitration clause referring disputes to the CAS. It is described in greater depth in Chapter 5.


Allowing for the difficulty in defining 'culture', this chapter has demonstrated that globalization is well advanced in most, or perhaps all of the fields which contribute to an individual's mind-view of society and her place in it, at least for people living in relatively developed parts of the world. If once, the average citizen saw herself primarily as a fairly featureless cog in a national machine, now the average person also sees herself as having broad potential on a variety of global stages. The individual's cultural consciousness has enormously increased, and the proportion of it occupied by national affairs and stereotypes has much diminished.