More than a sporting chance? appraising the sport for development legacy of the 2010 FIFA world cup

Cornelissen S. (2011)


This article appraises the sport for development initiatives that were implemented or augmented during the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa, and reviews the processes, institutional features and likely consequences of those initiatives for the sport for development sector in the country. It does so against the background that sport for development is a growth industry, albeit one with many conceptual and operational deficiencies, and which offers little in the way of an evidentiary base for the claim that sport has intrinsic social benefits. To date, too, there has been little cross-fertilisation between the sport for development field as a practice of development, and the growing body of scholarship that assesses the development impacts of large-scale sporting events. Given its distinctive setting and the intense international interest in its potential yields, the 2010 World Cup provoked a flurry of sport-centred development programmes implemented by a variety of international, domestic, public and private actors. This stimulated an interesting change in dynamics in the established sport for development landscape which, in time, may shape the sector and the broader sports environment in the country in both positive and negative ways. The case of the World Cup also offers some insights about the way in which sport for development practices can be mediated or altered in the context of sport mega-events. © 2011 Southseries Inc.

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