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The amateur ideal and British sports diplomacy, 1900-1945

Polley, Martin (2006) The amateur ideal and British sports diplomacy, 1900-1945 Sport in History, 26, (3), pp. 450-467.

Record type: Article


Traditionally, governments working within liberal democratic traditions have been wary of intervening in sport. As a cultural activity, this tradition has seen sport as an area that should, ideally, be free from political intervention, and should operate as a neutral and voluntary activity. This has contrasted with the sports policies of governments from other traditions, with communist and fascist governments in particular taking a more direct approach to sport, and developing links between physical culture and their wider ideologies. Using sports diplomacy as a case study in governmental involvement in sport, this chapter explores some of the ways in which amateurism itself was an ideology in British state thinking. While the amateur ideal was often undermined by pragmatism in response to particular situations, forcing governments to intervene more directly in sport than they would have liked, amateurism remained something of a core value in the Foreign Office’s view of sport. This will be explored through various instances of sports diplomacy from the first half of the twentieth century.

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Published date: December 2006
Keywords: sport, history, diplomacy, amateurism, professionalism


Local EPrints ID: 42060
ISSN: 1746-0263
PURE UUID: b66e5f91-8720-4c41-9cc5-ec1d9e0557df

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Date deposited: 13 Nov 2006
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 15:24

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Author: Martin Polley

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