Sport and Diplomacy (Online Learning)

Key information

Module overview

This module aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between sport and diplomacy. Understanding sport’s capacity in the field of diplomacy challenges conventional state based approaches and sheds light upon a plethora of related issues: including international governance, international business, cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy. The role of governing bodies, such as the International Olympic Committee and FIFA, will be given particular attention as examples of major NGOs engaging in diplomacy. Sport has increased the opportunity for rivalry and conflict, especially when wrapped in the cause of nationalism. Through sport, cities and states have represented themselves to, and communicated with foreign counterparts. In doing so, opposing sides – teams and the citizenry who support them – come to know one another, creating opportunities to build and sustain durable, ongoing and peaceful relationships. Such engagements with the ‘other’ simultaneously produce and reinforce each state and people’s own identity.

All modules are subject to availability and are subject to change from session to session.

Suggested reading

  • Merkel, Udo. 2016. "Sport as a foreign policy and diplomatic tool." In Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics, eds. Alan Bairner et al., pp. 56-66. Abingdon: Routledge. E-book.
  • Murray, Stuart. 2018. “Introduction.” In Sports Diplomacy: Origins, Theory and Practice, pp. 101. Abingdon: Routledge. E-book.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules