The Effects Of Contemporary Issues In Sport Physical Education Essay


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The effects of television have been felt the most and are the most obvious. To increase viewing figures match times have been moved to prime viewing time so that millions will tune in to watch their favourite team. The increased amounts of money that are in deals for television as the competition for the rights to show the big game of the weekend has increased. An example of this could be the 2006 World Cup Final where in the UK 20.4 million people tuned in to watch Italy win the cup. Also another feature of televisions effect on sport is the creation of penalty shootouts rather than extra time.

The creation of superstars overnight because the player has made a big impact live on television is another effect. The amounts that these superstars can be bought and sold for have gone crazy. An example of this is the rumoured 99 million that Manchester City where prepared to pay for Kaka to play in England in the summer transfer market.

The creation also of super competitions and finals such as the World Cup and the World Cup Final, the Olympics, and the Superbowl just to increase viewing figures and create more money for these companies.

The amount of money also for the sponsorship of these events can be amazing. In the Superbowl every time there is a time out or an interruption in play, the broadcaster will switch to a commercial. This happens so frequently that these commercials have almost become part of the game.


Not only do millions tune in to watch matches and games but they will also tune into the BBC’s sports station Radio 5 Live and the digital station 5 Live Sports Extra which brings live commentaries of the weeks matches and sporting events. This has not had as bigger effect on the sports as television but the effects can be felt. The radio also has chat shows and phone ins after the games such as 606 on 5 Live where people get to express their views of how you their team performed.

Local and National press

After the television and radios coverage of the match the day before you wake up the next day and go and get the mail and with it is a newspaper. Newspapers write ups of the match will often be in greater detail than the commentary and it will contain a lot more statistics and match facts. Local newspapers will focus more on the local sport and news from a region or area whereas national newspapers will tend to focus on issue that are relevant to the whole nation. National papers will also tend to focus on the Premiership and Championship Leagues and the major clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal.

Sports Magazines

If you were to visit any large newsagents or the magazine section of a large supermarket you are bound to encounter a large number of sporting or sport related magazines. Almost every sport will have its own magazine and almost all these magazines will have websites where they say there will be information on a subject. Many people on these websites will have blogs where they can express their views. The only problem with this is that the majority of material is in an unedited, unmediated format and the views are often those of a minority.

1.2 Deviance

Deviance is a form of behaviour which is considered to violate society’s norms and therefore to be unacceptable. In sport this manifests itself in a number of ways such as drugs, gamesmanship, and violence. A sportsperson can exhibit positive and negative deviance.

Positive deviance equals over-commitment. An example is over-training or play on through injury and pain and much of the “no pain, no gain” philosophy supports this behaviour. A recent example of this would be Cesc Fabricas playing for Arsenal against Barcelona, although already injured, Cesc took a penalty and he ended up breaking a bone that had already been bruised. With ten minutes of the match left to play and Arsenal out of substitutes he decided to play on. The result has meant that he is out injured for the rest of the season and could miss the World Cup for Spain. In many sports we applaud the images of athletes covered in blood but carrying on for their country or clubs.

Negative deviance equals either a desperate or calculated breaking of the rules or of the norms. This is unfortunately the more known side of deviance. An example of this form of deviance would be an athlete taking a performance enhancing drug or banned substance to win a race.

Drugs in sport

There have been many famous users of banned substances who have been found out and punished but probably the most famous cheating athlete is Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson. He tested positive for the banned substance stanozolol in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. He had been beaten emphatically by his nearest rival Carl Lewis about a month before the Games but in the final Johnson lead from the gun to the finish in a world record time of 9.79 seconds. Two days later he tested positive. It was no secret that Johnson had been using illicit drugs for years but he still claims that he never touched the substance that was found in his blood stream and that he had been set up.

Unfortunately the problem hasn’t gone away if anything it has got worse. In the 2004 Olympics in Athens the figure of drug cheats that had been caught was twice the number that had been previously caught. There is the argument that they were caught because the system has gotten better and an example of this could be the British sprinter Dwain Chambers. He was the European champion and record holder but was also the first athlete in the world to be caught taking tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). This substance had previously been undetectable in all previous tests on it. The positive result meant that Chambers and his 4 X 100m team mates were stripped of their European gold medals in 2002 and the World Championships silver medals in 2003. Chambers served his ban and was reinstated into the team for the 2006 European Championships and his team won gold yet again, but Darren Campbell who had lost both previous medals because of Chambers, refused to take part in the lap of honour with him. Under British Olympic Association rules Chambers is not allowed to compete in the Olympics for Team GB as it has imposed its own life ban for failing a drugs test on him.


We often talk about sports performers playing fairly, but we find it hard to determine what playing fairly is. As sport has become increasingly pressured with a “win at all costs” approach taking over from the old ideals of athleticism (playing fairly as an amateur), so we have seen a rise in gamesmanship. Much sport is professional and the rewards for winning are great. The pressure from the fans, the manager, and in world competitions, the nation, all desperate to win the match that could end up helping them win the competition. It is also becoming less likely to find a role model who will not compromise their ethical stance.

1.3 Commercialisation of sport

Commercialisation refers to the practice of applying business principles to sport.


This occurs when an agreement between a company and a team/governing body/stadium/competition is made. The company agrees to pay a certain amount for its logo or its name to appear on the kit or merchandising.


This is the way companies make themselves known to the public. In sport this can be achieved by using advertising boards around stadiums, placing an advert in a programme, TV commercials using a sports star, etc. Sponsorship, merchandising, and endorsement all act as forms of advertising.


This is when a player promotes the use of a product or appliance. Companies will pay well for a big sports star to say that their product is worth buying or using.


This is the sale of goods that are linked to the club, player, or competition. Usually this is such things as replica kits, flags, scarves, stickers, etc. This is how an organization will make money off the role models, sporting icons, and famous players in their team.

Commercialised sports do not work in all societies. They are predominately found in developed societies where people have enough free time to be involved in watching sport, disposable income to spend on sport, and means of private transport to travel to the venues.

1.4 Child protection

Following a number of high-profile child abuse cases involving sports coaches, new legislation has been put in place that means that all people who work with children must have a criminal records check, and it has made sure that child protection training is now mandatory on many coaching courses. In future we should see a reduction in these horrible occurrences thanks to some quick thinking and an immediate change in legislation.

2.0 Cultural influences on sports participation

While we can see that sport benefits people and can fulfil the needs in their lives it is important to point out that not all people have the same opportunities. There is a great range of factors that influence participation. Here is a few of the main issues:


Ethnic origin


2.1 Gender

Statistics prepared by Sport England clearly show that women have a lower rate of participation than men.

With the odd exception, we can see that men are more active than women. The figures show us that 65 percent of men and 53 percent of women took part in at least one sporting activity prior to the interview. The only discrepancies were in sports such as keep fit and yoga, which usually attract a higher rate of female participants than male. More women participate in these sports because it is more about being more flexible and toning muscle rather than speed, endurance or building muscle as many men wish to do.

2.2 Ethnic origin

Recent statistics have shown a direct relationship between ethnic origin and participation in sport. This and other research shows us that:

White ethnic groups have the highest participation rates

People of Pakistani origin have the lowest participation rates

Women of Pakistani origin have a particularly low rate of participation. The reason for this is the nature of their beliefs and their culture. In their culture a women is not allowed to show her legs to a man unless she is married to him.

Certain ethnic groups are well represented in some sports but very poorly represented in others. An example would be the representation of black sprinters but the lack of coloured swimmers.

Britain must now be considered a multiracial society and we must work to meet the needs of all groups. Sports development officers are working hard to offer opportunities to people from all ethnic groups and meet their specific needs.

2.3 Age

Age and also an individual’s stage in their life cycle can be key factors in influencing the level of participation and also the choice of sports. Younger people tend to choose more physical contact sports such as rugby and football, while older age groups will often go for more individual sports with less physical contact.

The relationship between participation and age is not always clear as swimming and keep fit have fairly stable levels of participation across all age levels. Fishing and golf increase slightly with age before falling off again, and soccer and running’s decline is due to age. As a person gets older their speed and endurance will slowly dwindle and this will make them less competitive. However in sports there has been a creation of senior tours, like in tennis where the former professionals play tournaments. The events involve people such as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors and Pat Cash who play several exhibition style matches to win the trophy. At a lower level in tennis there are B, C, and D teams rather than just the elite club A team.

3.0 Barriers to participation for individuals from three target groups at different levels of the sports development continum

Unfortunately sports are mainly targeted at young, white males and this group is well represented in sports. So arrangements have to be made to make more accessible to all people. The barriers that may have to be overcome are:



Fitness levels



Medical conditions

3.1 Target groups

In the 1980’s Sport England identified “target groups” within sport. These were groups of people who were under-represented in terms of participation in sport. The target groups included:


People aged 50+

People with a disability

Young people

Black and minority ethnic groups

In sport these groups are not the only population groups under-represented. As in society in general, many population groups may feel discriminated against. Today the main organisations involved in sports development have moved away from the term “target groups” and instead use “sports equity”.

3.2 Sports development continuum

The sports development continuum is used widely by many sporting organizations in the UK to help inform strategies and policies on sports development. It locates the development of sport on a hierarchical basis from foundation, participation, and performance to excellence.

Foundation – encouraging young people into the exercise habit and developing basic movement and sports skills such as catching, throwing, and hand – eye coordination to provide a foundation for personal development and future participation in the sport of their choice.

Participation – for all members of the community to take part in a sport, whether for reasons of enjoyment, fitness, social contact or simply to get involved for its own sake.

Performance – opportunities for those already participating to improve their performance from whatever base they start, where the desire to improve is the key factor for involvement.

Excellence – opportunities for those with the interest and ability to achieve publicly measured levels of excellence.

The model implies that individuals move upwards through the continuum until they find their preferred level or limit to their ability. It is a simple model but useful as it clearly demonstrates the integration of different forms of involvement in sport.

3.3 The older generation, the barriers that affect them and solutions to the problems

In the UK, among those over the age of 50:

20% of women and 14% of men do not have the flexibility to wash their hair comfortably

47% of women aged 70-74 have insufficient leg muscle power to step on a bus without using arms

25% of women aged 70-74 do not have enough strength in the legs to be confident getting out of a chair without using arms

There are no national guidelines in the UK for physical activity specific to older people, but the recommendation for the adult population is to take part in:

“30 minutes of moderate physical activity, on at least five occasions a week” (Department of Health)

There are several ways of doing this. Below are listed the two most popular of the many ideas:

Intentional or habitual physical activity

A ‘bit at a time’ approach


Some of the problems that should be addressed by those responsible for policy and strategic development are listed below:

Type of activity


Safety concerns


Sport and recreation policy

Skills and attitudes of instructor

Lack of social support


Culturally appropriate facilities/settings

Relate to an individual’s beliefs, motives and experiences concerning physical activity

Myths and perceptions

Previous experiences

Family advice

Lack of interest

Lack of confidence

Fears of overdoing it

Safety concerns

Absence of role models

Stereotypical images of ageing

Health concerns


Here are some ideas and activities that could be used for older to keep them fit, healthy, and active:

Involvement in active Dance (various)

Leisure, sport & voluntary sector sports

Tai Chi

exercise programmes exercise and activity

Badminton clubs


Active Living and Bowls

Lifelong Learning Private sector health

Line dancing

Fitness clubs



Primary Health Care Orienteering

Teams Stretch & Flex


Self directed activities


Swimming lesson

Activity Mix

Some of these activities may require some help from the coaches and the instructors as the participant starts out.


Activity Area Focus Providers Activity Type

Below are listed many of the activities that care, nursing, and residential homes put on for older people to keep that fit, healthy and active. These are often put on at the homes own expense

“Increasing the Maintaining Older Peoples Exercise

“Circle of Life” independence

social Services/ Managers improve functional networks and capacity

Active Living

Supervised classes Movement, dance and Activity co-ordinators in Circuits

Groups within walking (assisted) nursing and residential Danceability

a health, social, activities settings


Tai Chi

Physical Activity Walking programmes

Development Officers Chair aerobics

Games (Local Authority) Chair activities – parachutes, Home based exercise/ Healthcare Professionals batons, scarves, activity programmes balls, fans, bean Home visitors – bags etc

Active Games



Programmes to promote physical activity will be able to utilise some existing settings and facilities within communities, but there will be a need to be imaginative and develop new ways to reach older people for example, residential/nursing homes, day care centres, sheltered accommodation, hospitals, garden centres, shopping centres, churches, parks and the home.

3.4 Disabled people, the barriers that affect them and the solutions

For people who have a disability and who enjoy doing sport must have a great amount of drive because just to play the sport they have to overcome the disability. The next problem that faces is find a sports or leisure centre with the specialist equipment and facilities and with the qualified instructor who is able to coach them in the sport in which they wish to compete. In recent years legislation has begun to support disabled athletes thanks to the great performances at the Paralympics by such athletes as Tanny Grey-Thompson, who has become a role model to millions. If they are able to overcome these barriers and become good athletes they are eligible to receive lottery funding and then have the choice to carry on competing or go into coaching both of which still require great personal drive and overcoming more adversity.

The solutions to overcome these barriers and overcome the adversity is for more success to keep happening to paralympians and for them to keep campaigning for a change in the legislature to favour disabled people and to change the stereotypical image of disabled people.

3.5 Young people, the barriers that affect them, and the solutions

There are many junior clubs in a whole range of different sports and scouts from bigger clubs or county teams will go to watch these teams and see if there are any promising players who they feel would develop into good players at higher levels. The barrier to the children is the lack of opportunity and the fact that the scouts from the higher profile clubs will focus on urban areas around where the club is based so children in the countryside have to overcome this adversity. Most young children will also try lots of different sports before they decide to specialise in a specific sport.

Many local sports clubs and groups will put on events in which they can look for some promising youngsters or undiscovered talents. An example of this is the event that Stroud Athletics Club holds during the Nailsworth Festival to find some talent but also to allow the children some fun and exercise doing events that they wouldn’t normally compete in. A larger scale example of this is the young athletic meetings and competitions that Aviva (formally Norwich Union) sponsor as well as sponsoring UK Athletics.

4.0 Three different sport development initiatives

Sport England and local authorities are well aware of the problems faced by people from different cultures and the barriers faced by the general population. Since it is inception in 1972 the Sports Council (now Sport England) has run a series of campaigns. They started it all with the “Sport for All” and included “Ever thought of sport?” and “50+ and all to play for”. These campaigns were all aimed at a specific group with low participation rates.

Recent strategies have included:

Game Plan

Every Child Matters

Sporting Equals


Plan for Sport 2001

Active Sports


I have selected three of these to discuss.

4.1 Sporting Equals

Sporting Equals is a strategy to promote racial equality in sport with the specific aim of developing a society where:

People from an ethnic minority group can influence and participate equally in sport at all levels as players, officials, coaches, administrators, volunteers and decision makers, working with partners to develop awareness and understanding of racial equality issues that impact sport

Governors and providers of sports recognise and value a fully integrated and inclusive society

A sporting environment is established where cultural diversity is recognised and celebrated

Now this organization may not be promoting fitness or a get healthy scheme it is tackling a far deeper issue than just trying to get fit. It is trying to make sure that sport can bring people from different ethnic groups and make them strong friends. They are trying to use sport as a way to deal with a problem that has been around for hundreds of years.

The strengths of this is group has to be its morality. It has good morals at the centre of the organization and it is using the sports to bring people together that wouldn’t normally socialize together.

The weakness of it is possibly that it doesn’t promote sport enough. It promotes racial equality through sport but that means that anybody taking part in it is probably there to promote equality rather than get fit.

4.2 Active Sports

Active Sports is delivered on a local county basis and outlines the steps local authorities are taking to develop partnerships to deliver increased opportunities to participate in sport. An example of this is taking place in Oxfordshire where there is a network of partners who are working together to achieve the following aims:

To increase participation in sport and active recreation

To improve the levels of performance in sport

To widen the access to sport and active recreation

To improve health and well-being

The strengths of this organization are the fact that it is attempting to widen sporting activities to all society. This encourages people to go and get fit and there is a great range of activities that this group can put and they can be made available to everyone.

The weakness is that it doesn’t focus on one specific group. If it had a direct aim, say to get older people into sport or encourage over-weight people into a sport then they would reap more rewards rather than casting a massive net into a sea of people and plucking out the typical active person.

4.3 Sportsmark

This group was introduced in 2004 as a partnership between the Departments for Education and Skills and for Culture, Media, and Sport. It is an accreditation scheme for secondary schools to reward their commitment to developing out-of-hours sport provision as well as a well-designed PE curriculum. There are two levels of award: Sportsmark and Sportsmark Gold, at which a school can achieve a distinction award.

The strength of this group is the fact that it tries to get schools to encourage an after school sporting activity and to focus on physical education to achieve the awards. This means that the teenagers have an opportunity to get fit and all it requires is just a little time after school rather than having to pay for a gym membership.

The weakness is that the children may just not be interested in an after school sport or really try in the PE lessons and if the child doesn’t want to participate then what is there you can do?