Sport, education and sports leadership in Scotland

by Grant Jarvie / Stirling University (Scotland)


Scotland and the European Year of Education through Sport * Education through sport beyond Scotland * Education and the current national targets for sport in Scotland * The health and physical activity crisis * The Scottish sports volunteers crisis * The nature of sport crises * The cultural crises and sports leadership in Scotland
Case studies illustrating the value of education through sport * Scottish sport, education and physical education * Scottish sport and local community * Scottish sport and higher education * Scottish sport and health * Scottish sport and crime * Scottish sport, ownership and social inclusion * Scottish sport, deprivation and urban regeneration * Scottish sport, racism and sectarianism * Scottish sport and youth football * Scottish sport, citizenship and volunteers * Scottish sport and internationalism
The values at the centre of Scottish sport and the need for an alternative * Mutual sport in demutualised communities * Concluding remarks * Recommendations

In this study of sport, education and sport leadership in Scotland we will

  • examine the general relationship between education and the training of sports leaders in Scotland

  • evaluate the current national strategy for sport in Scotland paying particular reference to the role of education and volunteering within the context of sports leadership

  • critically differentiate between the notions of education and sport and education through sport in Scotland

  • answer the question what is or should be the purpose of education and sports leadership in Scotland?

  • provide case study material from Scotland to illustrate and substantiate the claims made in this study

  • provide an initial resource guide to sports leadership based upon research from the Scottish context

  • list a set of recommendations arising out of this study.

Scotland and the European Year of Education through Sport

The European Parliament has designated 2004 as the European Year of Education through Sport (EYES). Sports organisations, educational institutions and non-formal educational organisations all over Europe are conducting a number of activities with the view to improving physical and mental health, social life and active citizenship. 2004 provides the Europe Union not only the opportunity to welcome new member’s states into the European Union but also highlight the many opportunities that exist for individual nation states, regions and individuals to promote life-long learning through sport.
Participation in the European Year of Education through Sport was formally welcomed by the Scottish Executive Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Frank McAveety in February 2004. The Minister added :

“We believe that this will raise the profile of sport and education with the young people of Scotland in what is an exceptional year for European Sport. EYES will provide an excellent opportunity for the Scottish community to become more integrated in Europe. We firmly believe that the values which sport promotes, and those encapsulated by EYES, can help create a better society by increasing knowledge and skills levels, enabling young people to develop their physical capabilities and inclination to personal effort; and developing team work, solidarity, tolerance, fair play in a multi-cultural context.”

Scottish political administrations commit public resources to sporting infrastructure because of sport's perceived benefits to a range of areas such as improving health, education, creating jobs, and preventing crime. Sport matters to the Scottish people but competing notions of identity; internationalisation, national tradition and solidarity are also contested within sport and perhaps matter far beyond the reach of sport. Education through sport in Scotland and Europe is vital but both need to be sustained and nourished by many if not all of the core values at the heart of EYES.

Education, youth, health and social responsibility are but four core areas of policy concern under the current political administration in Scotland and the UK. The Scottish Executive has promoted selected aspects and interpretations of the EYES project. In particular the Scottish political administration in 2004 highlighted the fact that young people in Scotland could benefit from the work of EYES by (1.) participating in sport for educational, social and cultural reasons; (2.) using sporting activity as a vehicle for integration; (3.) using sport and physical activity as a medium for developing and improving health and (4.) recognising that sport and related activities are a factor in improving standards of education, both formally and informally.

Throughout the United Kingdom it is expected that up to 12 projects will receive an average grant of £35,000 to pursue the aims of EYES 2004. Within Great Britain and Northern Ireland the Youth Sport Trust at the University of Loughborough along with the national sports agencies are administering the European Year of Education. The following projects involving Scottish Higher Education as partners are active in Scotland under the auspices of the European Year of Education through Sport. It is appropriate that the University of Stirling is the most active Scottish University involved with EYES.

Project 1: European Academy for Sport Leaders

In February 2004 at the Annual Conference of The Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils (SALSC) the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, the President of SALSC and the Head of Department of Sports Studies from the University of Stirling formally welcomed and acknowledged the announcement of the European Sports Leader Academy project.
SALSC, the local sports councils representing the voluntary sector in Scotland have historically been prime movers in helping to deliver education through sport within the 32 local authorities in Scotland.
The object of the European Academy for Sport Leaders project is to establish a European Academy for Sports Leaders and provide tools for improving physical and mental health, social life and active citizenship through education and training programmes designed for development and management.

Project 2: Sport and education for the social inclusion of asylum seekers and refugees

This project of evaluation is co-ordinated through the University of Loughborough and incorporating the Department of Sports Studies at the University of Stirling. The work of the project group will be to map and analyse the roles of different organisations in the UK involved in the use of sport with such groups, review and evaluate the factors associated with successful practice at grass roots level and compare and contrast the aspirations of asylum seekers and refugees with the views/policies of local providers.
The object of the project is to provide a legacy highlighting good practice for policy makers and practitioners in the UK and other EU member states facing similar policy problems as well as informing the EU’s future policy actions in relation to the issues of social inclusion and the integration of asylum seekers and refugees.
It is clear from the outset that education through Sport has an important part to play in the new devolved Scotland. The national priorities for education in Scotland are defined under five key headings. It is suffice just to mention what the national priorities for education in Scotland are through to 2005 but they provide a possible framework for thinking about Sports Leadership in Scotland and Europe: (1.) Achievement and attainment; (2.) framework for learning; (3.) inclusion and equality: (4.) values and citizenship and (5.) learning for life. Education through sport has a contribution to make to all of these goals but there is need in Scotland and elsewhere to develop materials, programmes and research to provide a foundation for effective sports leadership.

Education through sport beyond Scotland

Sport and related activities such as physical activity have long since been viewed as agents of social change. The following are some of the many popular Scottish and UK answers that are given when asked what does education through sport provide us with? (1.) It can make a contribution to tackling problems of obesity, health and inactivity; (2) it can increase knowledge and skills; (3.) it can help to formulate critical debate (4.) it can help to deliver a national sport strategy; (5.) it helps provide further opportunities for life-long learning and sustain not just education but an involvement in sport and physical activity; (6.) it can help to provide a better balance to school life; (7.) the voluntary contribution to informal education can make a positive contribution to helping young people and (8.) it can be an agent of internationality within certain given contexts (Jarvie & Ramsay 2004).

Yet from the outset the position taken in this report is that while Scotland provides a unique comparative context for the study of sports, education and sports leadership their is an unquestionable need for Scotland to make a contribution to what Europe has to offer but also learn from what other countries are doing in this area. This project has facilitated not only an increased European research capacity through the study of sports education and leadership across more than ten countries but also proven that much more needs to be done to realise the reality of an Academy for European Sports Leaders.

All of this tends to come alive when you look around the world and see some of the empowering things that are going on as a result of education through sport in some of the poorest regions of the world. The partnership of education through sport was central to Nelson Mandela’s hopes and aspirations for the New South Africa. Sport for Mandela was a force that could mobilise the sentiments of a people in a way that nothing else could. There is the reality of Maria Urrutia the women from Colombia who lifted 245 Kilos to win Colombia’s first ever Olympic Gold Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. The country as you know usually hits the headlines for other reasons but speaking to her nation following her success she was clear about what sport had helped her to do:

“She hoped that her success would reach others like her poor, black and female”- she went on –“ I hope others see that you can make a living, see the world and get an education , through sports, or even in music and other arts” (The Herald, 7 October 2000:18).

There is the reality Maria Mutola from Mozambique the 2000 Olympic women’s 800 Champion five time world indoor 800 metres champion and thrice outdoors world record holder and subject of an article entitled “Candle Who Brings a Ray of Hope”. The article referred to the humanity of the athlete –what the athlete herself calls a moral duty to her country- in that athletic winnings from grand prix victories were routinely returned home to Mozambique to assist in the purchase of farms and small businesses, wells drilled, schools endowed, children sent abroad to University and in some cases life-saving surgery all dependent upon a track victory (The Herald, 22 January 2004:20).

It is not as if the social role of sport is and has not been recognised by sports leaders in Europe. A former Secretary General for the Council of Europe in defending sport in Europe did not highlight, the European Football or Athletic Championships or other high profile events but rather she stated that the real value of sport and physical activity was the hidden face of sport, the tens of thousands of enthusiasts and volunteers who find in their football, rowing and athletics a place for meeting and exchange but above all the training ground for community life. Sport, for her, was seen par excellence as the ideal school for democracy. The Secretary General had an idea about sport that was informed by a set of values and ideas. Is this what Education through Sport in Europe should be about?

What is clear from these and other examples is that active partnerships aimed at bringing about education through sport at all levels are desirable, perhaps inevitable, certainly a popular agent for bringing about change but that the conditions need to be created to let that focus thrive. Let us hope that the European Year of Education through Sport can contribute to encouraging such conditions where education through sport is not left to chance, where sport itself is not viewed as market driven entertainment but a social right of all European citizens. Whether it is Scotland or Country A, B or C what is clear is that education through sport is not about two different sectors working in isolation, it is not education and sport.

The case study of Sport, Education and Sports Leadership in Scotland that follows revolves around two straight forward notions firstly that sport and related activities have a proven potential to help Scottish people access formal education and secondly education in Scotland occurs through the process of being involved in sport and related activities. It is premised upon the fact that Sport, Education and Sports Leadership in Scotland has much in common with other parts of Europe, has the potential to encourage internationality within Europe but is also influenced by the values that have helped to shape Scottish education, culture and society.

In order to achieve the above the study is divided into three parts:
(1.) The current national targets for sport in Scotland and the role of education, (2.) a series of research lead studies illustrating the value of education through sport, and (3.) the values at the centre of Scottish sport and the need for an alternative, followed by some concluding remarks and recommendations

Education and the current national targets for sport in Scotland

Scotland has been governed through a system of devolved government since 1999. The devolving of certain powers from the Westminster based UK government to the Edinburgh based Scottish government was/is intended to provide Scottish solutions to Scottish problems. The purpose of devolution is that the UK Parliament can transfer certain legislative powers to devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales while retaining Britain as a unitary state. The White Paper on the Scottish Parliament (1997) stated that the Westminster Parliament was choosing to exercise sovereignty by devolving legislative responsibilities to a Scottish Parliament without in any way diminishing its powers. There are powers that are reserved to Westminster such as foreign policy, defence and national security, macro-economic monetary and fiscal affairs, employment and social security. The Scotland (1998) Act assigned to the Scottish Parliament all matters not reserved and these non-reserved matters include education and sport. (Jarvie & Thomson 1997; Thomson 2003).

Devolution in Scotland was and is intended to provide Scottish solutions to Scottish problems. It is claimed that the creation of a Scottish Parliament brings a more informed judgement to bear on purely Scottish issues (Thomson 2004). Any case study entitled Sport, Education and Sports Leadership in Scotland needs to be sensitive to the local political context that provides a framework perhaps not for fully explaining the issues facing sport and related areas in Scotland but at least the background to the policy process. The key documents that have been part of the process that has lead to the current state of play which is published in the National Sports Strategy for Scotland Sport 21: Shaping Scotland’s Future (2003).

The national targets for sport in Scotland 2003-2007 are :

  • By 2020, 60% of adult Scots to be active in sport at least once a week.

  • By 2007: 80% of primary schoolchildren to be physically active.

  • To make progress towards all schoolchildren taking part in at least two hours of high quality physical education classes a week.

  • 85% of those aged 13-17 will take part in sport, in addition to the school curriculum, more than once a week.

  • 49% of those aged 14 pus in Social Inclusion Partnership areas will take part in sport at least once a week.

  • 55% of those aged 17-24 will take part in sport more than twice a week.

  • 43% of those aged 45-64 will take part in sport at least once a week.

  • Over 250 Scots will have been medallists on the World Stage.

  • Scotland will have over 500 sports halls available to the public so that 70% of Scots have access to a hall within 20 minutes walk.

  • Over one million Scots will play sport in membership clubs.

  • Scotland will sustain 150,OOO Volunteers who are contributing to the development and delivery of Scottish Sport, and:

  • Every local authority area’s community planning process will have contributed to the targets of Sport 21 by 2007.

On the one hand it is tempting to suggest that education is at the heart of the national sport strategy for Scotland. The formal education system of the schools, the colleges the Universities are certainly recognised as crucial partners in the delivery and monitoring of the eleven set targets. For instance the national sports agency identifies higher education as a specific partner in relation to the following targets: (5) 55% of those aged 17-24 taking part in sport more than twice a week; (7) over 250 Scots having won medals on the world stage and (9) over one million Scots playing sport in membership of clubs. Furthermore the recent sportscotland summary report of Sport in Higher Education outlines higher education’s contribution to all eleven targets. There are many examples of good practice including the active lifestyle programme to the community of North East Fife provided by the University of St Andrews; the international sports scholarship scheme provided by the University of Stirling (see and the children in the community sport and physical activity programmes provided by the University of Aberdeen. All of these examples highlight the part played by higher education in the provision of leadership through sport in Scotland.

A number of challenges currently facing sport in Scotland and it is tempting to suggest that the values that underpin the key judgements about policy outcome and delivery in Scotland are perhaps not as informed as they might be. The following examples do not in themselves indicate that a new form of sports leadership is needed in Scotland but collectively even the most conservative assessments might be tempted to suggest that their is a problem of leadership in Scottish sport.

The health and physical activity crisis

The International Obesity Task force tells us that both Scotland and England have some of the highest levels of obesity in Europe. Since 1982 child obesity in the UK has doubled, in 2003 it was estimated to affect 10% of six-year-olds and 20% of 15 year olds in Scotland and for the first time, children in the UK were diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes, normally an adult disease (Reeves, 2003). The Glasgow University research published in 2003 tells us that children as young as three are not active enough. The popular explanations include snacking, too little physical activity, consumption of sugary drinks and fast foods. The National Sports strategy -Sports 21 places an emphasis on physical activity a whole range of measures are aimed at making in roads into this much-publicised problem. All of the 32 Scottish local authorities will benefit from government spending such as that attached to the £24 million announced in 2003 to be spent on more than 600 school activity co-ordinators across Scotland aimed at increasing levels of exercise and physical activity. It has been suggested that Scotland needs to increase the number of PE teachers, coaches and volunteers but also provide for a more progressive, critical, holistic form of education. Yet an education through sport and physical activity which is fit for purpose in the 21 st century needs to evaluate just what activities deliver what outcomes in terms increasing levels of exercise and physical activity in Scotland.

The Scottish sports volunteers crisis

Target 10 of the national sports strategy for Scotland aims to sustain 150,000 volunteers contributing to the development and delivery of Scottish Sport by 2007. The Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) found in 2002 that the UK wide Millennium Volunteers Programme for Young People aged 16-24 has been relatively successful in stimulating the process of sustained personal commitment, recognition and awards for volunteers, ownership by people, inclusion, variety and quality of opportunities, personal development and contributions to local communities including those in Scotland.

Sports volunteers form a quarter (26%) of all volunteers. The 2003-4 Scottish Omnibus Survey suggests that 16% of the adult population have undertaken sports-related volunteering in the last year and just over 150,000 adults do so once a week or more. 66% of sports volunteers are male compared with 52% of sports participants. The groups most associated with volunteering in Scottish sport are middle class and middle-aged males. With specific reference to sports clubs in Scotland the 1999 survey identified the following concerns; 50% identified a general shortage of volunteers; 33% identified a shortage of volunteers/staff with technical skills and 29% identified a shortage of volunteers staff with management skills.

62% of those surveyed in the 1999 survey of Scottish Sports Clubs identified the need for education and training of sports volunteers in Scotland as priority.

The nature of sport crisis

The relationship between sport, health and physical activity has been increasingly scrutinised by government to determine whether the conventional wisdom on sport is able to deliver the health and physical activity agenda. The very nature of sport is being brought into question in an effort to determine just exactly what the identifiable outcomes of sport are in relation to health. The strategic pressure here relates to measured outcomes in relation to value for money. Sport has received significant increases in government funding against particular objectives. The message here is clear in the sense that the executive has identified the key causes of for example mortality rates amongst women and asked the question what can sport do to help here? Between 1956 and 1995 in a comparative exercise with 17 other Western European Countries Allison (2003) illustrated that Scottish women were ranked number one in relation death from health related illnesses. In the most deprived areas of Scotland mortality from heart disease under the age of 65 has increased by 250%, incidents of cancer are 14% higher with mortality 40% higher and death from suicide is 179% higher than in other areas. Suicide is the leading cause of death amongst young men in Scotland and over twice the rate found in England.

Given such concerns it is not unreasonable to ask some basic questions about sport in relation to health and assert that leadership needs to be informed. At the very least it is necessary to know which sports and how often should activity take place and for how long before a difference is made. The strongest evidence is for school based broad physical activity among children.

However the crises of sport in this instance stems from the fact that if sport is going to contribute to the health agenda in Scotland then the nature of sport needs to be new. What is required is new sport for a new Scotland in terms new style clubs, new forms of activity and new partnerships through sport.

The cultural crisis and sports leadership in Scotland

In 2000 the Scottish Executive introduced and formally launched the National Cultural Strategy for Scotland. The cultural strategy outlined the role of the arts and sport in the New Scotland and concluded that culture was the key component in defining human identity at individual, community and national level. The then Minister for Culture and Sport argued that we believe that the arts and culture have a central role to play in shaping a sense of community, civic pride and confidence in the New Scotland (

In April 2004 the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport announced that a new cultural review led by a new cultural commission would submit a final report to Scottish Ministers by June 2005. The remit of the cultural commission is to explore the notion of cultural rights for the Scottish citizen and see how it can be translated into a series of entitlements. Should cultural rights be guaranteed by law, and is it feasible to promise all schoolchildren in Scotland access to theatre, dance, heritage, facilities, music and sport as a cultural right? It will assess the need for a cultural think tank.

In addition to the crises of confidence in the leadership and values of those leading Scotland’s cultural agencies there is a silent vacuum in the issue of sustained leadership in Scottish sport. More than six governing body chief executives resigned or moved to other posts during 2003. In April 2004 the Chief Executive of the National Sports Agency resigned. The Scottish Rugby Union in Scotland is divided over the way to sustain a financial future for the game in Scotland while participation figures show that less than 1% of sports participation in Scotland results from involvement in the game of rugby. Tensions remain within the Scottish Rugby Union over the issues of leadership, direction and finances. During 2004 The National Review of Scottish Youth Football indicated that some degree of re-organisation in Scottish Football would beneficial.

It is difficult not to conclude that the crises of confidence in Scotland’s cultural agencies is also in part reflected in the crises of confidence in the leadership of Scottish sport. Higher Education has often been relied upon to solve the problems of Scottish sport and perhaps it is time for Higher Education to have a bigger say in the leadership of Scottish Sport.

Sport in Scotland at the beginning of the 21 st century needs to think about leadership in terms of delivering success on the ground. With the possible exception of the Scottish Institute of Sport there is no real evidence to suggest that the process of devolution has produced a radically different road map for sport and in particular the leadership of sport in Scotland. The powers and authority of the national sports agency remain in tact, the sport portfolio at Ministerial level has changed six times in as many years and their is no distinctive Scottish sporting culture to compare with Ireland’s history of Gaelic Games. Attempts to attract major sporting events to date have failed most notably the bids to host the Golf Ryder Cup in 2009 and the joint bid with Ireland to host the European Football Championships in 2008. Football and rugby two major sports in Scotland are facing financial challenges. Six chief executives of major governing bodies of sport have resigned or moved on, between 2002-2004 and the Chief Executive of the national sports agency resigned in 2004. It is tempting to suggest that Scottish sport is in crises situation and needs informed leadership and an imbued sense of internationality that any informed European Sports Leader Academy would foster from an early stage.

Case studies illustrating the value of education through sport

The problem of continued, sustained, progressive leadership in Scotland is lacking and yet at the same time the value of education through sport and related activities is extremely active on the ground. We inhabit a world in which Scottish sport, as with other European Countries is an international phenomenon. The Scottish Highland Games are more popular in some parts of the world than they are in Scotland (Ray 2005). They are central to the annual Tartan Day celebrations held in the United States of America. The top two Scottish football clubs have more supporters outside of Scotland than they do nationally or locally. It is important for Scottish politicians and world leaders to be associated with sports personalities, sport contributes to the economy, some of the most visible international spectacles are associated with sporting events, it is part of the social and cultural fabric of different localities, regions and nations, its transformative potential is evident in some of the poorest areas of Scotland; it is important to the television industry and the tourist industry is heavily dependent upon sports such as golf. Scottish sport it is regularly associated with social problems and issues such as crime, health, violence, social division, labour migration, economic and social regeneration and poverty and yet it is vital that sport and related areas do not raise political or social expectations beyond what it can deliver. The research produced by higher education institutions should be used to qualify and inform just exactly what outcomes can be expected from sport. This should inform the knowledge that is available to sports leaders.

We also live in a Scotland in which some of the richest and poorest people identify with forms of sport in different ways. Contemporary patterns of sports participation in Scotland are illustrative of the fact that sport in Scotland is socially differentiated in a number of ways. Sport’s social and commercial power in Scotland makes it a potentially potent force for good and bad. Education through sport in Scotland is important because it can be a symbol of democratic change, it can promote internationality, it can contribute to different ideas of community but it can do all of this within a context that everyone has the right to education and education through sport. Education in Scotland has historically always been associated with preparing people for life as equal citizens in a common culture of community.

In this sense education through sport in Scotland has historically shared many of the values and aspirations that have been central to the 2004 EYES project.

Education through Sport in Scotland can been seen to promote a greater social understanding of Scotland and Europe and in this sense it might be valuable at this point to highlight some of the substantive Scottish evidence that is available The levels below are not exhaustive but at one level they are illustrative of different resources of that maybe drawn upon to assist educational thinking about sport but perhaps more importantly they are themes that are not exclusive to Scotland and therefore they also provide a basis from which to think about similarities and differences between and with Scotland and other European Countries such as those involved in this study.

Level 1: Scottish sport, education and physical education

Case Study: The Report of the Review Group on Physical Education 2004

Content: The Physical Education Review Group was established at the request of Scottish Ministers in response to a recommendation made by the Physical Activity Task Force. The remit of the group was to consider how schools could be supported, within the National Priorities framework for planning, delivering and monitoring improvements, to provide a quality physical education that meets the needs and talents of school pupils in Scotland. The 2004 report in practice involve the implementation of 10 action points over the next 5 years and these include:

  • 400 additional physical education teachers to support the growing emphasis on physical education.

  • To accommodate 2 hours of quality physical education for every child every week as a To review the physical education curriculum and take advice upon the pre-school curriculum in relation to school based physical education.

  • To review the physical education curriculum and take advice upon the pre-school curriculum in relation to school based physical education.

  • To issue guidance to all local authorities to monitor progress in relation to the above three aims under the powers provided within the Standards in Schools Act 2000.

  • To ensure the appropriate research in relation to learning and teaching is supported by the Scottish Executive.

  • To disseminate good practice in physical education.

  • To use the school inspectorate to ensure that the 2 hours per week is made mandatory as part of schools inspection.

  • To ensure that the teacher training institution secure the additional places needed fore the expansion of PE teacher numbers.

  • To ensure that more opportunities are made available to primary teachers to ensure their qualifications produce support for more physical activity in schools.

Conclusion: The recommendations highlighted by the report include (1.) increasing participation in physical education across all ages from 3-18; (2.) improving the curriculum to ensure the entitlement of all pupils to quality physical education experiences and the place of physical education in relation to the expressive arts; (3.) to improve school programmes as a result of wider consultation with pupils; (4.) to provide support for teachers in the form of specialist support for primary schools, continuing professional development for primary teachers; (5.) sharing good practice and research; (6.) improving facilities and services for schools and the wider community and (7.) implementing the recommendations nationally and produce a progress report and evaluation after five years.

Comment: The above report has been included in this review because of its timing and potential to assist with the delivery of some of the concerns raised by EYES 2004. Its status is as a government review which will influence future sport, education and learning in Scotland. It is guided by National priority 5, which is aimed at equipping pupils with foundation skills, attitudes and expectations necessary to prosper in a changing society and to encourage creativity and ambition. It has the potential to facilitate leadership through education within the context of schools in Scotland. That is to say it relates to the formal but not informal curriculum of education through sport. It mentions the need for physical education and sport to be part of a life-long learning process. It is driven in part as a partial response to a number of crises which will be returned to later in this report.

Source: The Report of the Review Group on Physical Education 2004 Edinburgh. Scottish Executive at

Level 2: Scottish sport and local community

Case Study: Geographical Memory and Urban Identity in Scotland: Raith Rovers FC and Kirkcaldy

Content: The study examines the ties between one Scottish town (population 47.155) and its local football club (Raith Rovers founded in 1883). A series of field interviews and subsequent correspondence with the residents of Kirkcaldy provide the qualitative analysis upon which the study is based. The analysis uses the notion of social and geographical memory to explain the importance of the local football club to generations of residents who have lived in the town and moved away from the town but retained a close affinity with the football club. The study asserts that the local football club has played an important role in the development of local identity, culture and a shared sense of memory and community in the town of Kirkcaldy. The local community suggests that the football team has helped to put the town on the map, develop a shared sense of place and provide a topic of inter-generational discussion about the history of the town and club.

Conclusion: Sporting memories both individual and social are important in creating a sense of place and belonging. The study suggests the memories associated with the local football club contribute to wider memories of friends, relatives and people living in and who have lived in the urban space that is the town of Kirkcaldy. Testimonies from people living in the town provide a source of data through which histories are created. The local football club makes a small contribution to the meaning of local community.

Comment: The assertion that local sports clubs provide communities with a sense of place and identity is one of the most popular contributions that Scottish sport can make to communitarian thinking. A degree of interaction with the world beyond one's own immediate neighbourhood is vital if communities are not to be socially excluded. Organisation such as the Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils have a role to play in promoting a sense of local community through sport but also helping to locate this notion of community within the wider European Community. Sport can only make a small but significant contribution. Local sports clubs are not just potential economic assets but social and cultural assets to the local community. Such thinking has been recognised within the Scottish Parliament in relation to the Parliamentary Debate of 15 June 2000- Greenock Morton Football Club. Sports leaders need to be much more knowledgeable about sports role in the local community.

Source: Hague, E and Mercer. J (1998) Geography 83(2): 105-106

Level 3: Scottish sport and higher education

Case Study: Audit of Sports Provision in the Higher Education Sector in Scotland

Content: During 2002 on audit of higher education's contribution to sport in Scotland was carried out. The audit obtained data strategic planning for sport, university expenditure on sport, sports programmes offered and the staffing of sports departments. In 1945 only 2% of 18 year olds entered Scottish Universities. In the early 1960s, 3/4 of University graduates were male while in 2002 the majority of undergraduates were female. During the 1960s only 5% of the population had access to Higher Education in the UK. Only 1 in 18 young people went to university in 1965 compared to 2003 where 1 in 3 in England and 1 in 2 in Scotland attended university and consequently accessed higher education. Slightly over 12% of the 197,125 people entering higher education for the first time in 2001/2 were over the age of 30. Scottish Universities are responsible for 475 sports clubs; just over £1 million pounds of public money is returned to Scottish Universities for sports related research every 5 years. This money is split between 47.2 staff in 4 Universities. There is an over provision of sports science in Scotland but not sports studies. Higher education helps to forge educational partnerships, research partnerships and facility partnerships involving sport.

Conclusion: Higher Education is a strategic partner in Scottish sport, locally, nationally and internationally. There are important educational partnerships between institutions and sports organisations as well as Universities offering education through sports degree programmes. Higher education needs to be at the heart of the National Sports strategy if the current crisis of sports leadership is to be progressed.

Comment: Higher education has an important part to play in developing future sports leaders, generating knowledge upon which robust sports policy is developed and providing a public voice for sport. Scottish higher education needs to be increasingly international in its outlook, be accessible and life-long. At the same time Higher education is itself a bearer of a tradition that has valued democracy, citizenship and equality of opportunity all of which should be valued by a progressive sports culture in Scotland and elsewhere.

Source: Taylor. J (2003) Research Report No 89, Edinburgh: Sportscotland

Level 4: Scottish sport and health

Case Study: Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Survey (2003)

Content More than half of fifteen-year-old boys and three quarters of girls the same age are failing to meet Scottish Executive guidelines on the level of weekly exercise. Although younger teenagers are slightly more active, fewer than half of 11-15 year old boys and under a third of 11 to 15 year old girls are sufficiently active. This is the first time that a survey has measured Scottish adolescent’s lifestyle and compared it to the government’s recommendations for healthy living in terms of exercise. The survey found Scottish children to be amongst the fattest in Europe. There is a large gender gap and more than half by the age of 15 are doing the very minimum activity required for health. Only Italy and Malta have higher obesity levels a report by the National Health Service (NHS) for Scotland discovered. The study of secondary school children in Scotland revealed that one in five 12 year olds in Scotland are obese by comparison to one in seven in Wales, England and America. The Health Behaviour in School Aged Children Study which is part of an international research project for the World Health Organisation questioned 4404 young people in schools across Scotland about how much moderate to vigorous activity they took part in per week. The recommended level of activity for young people in Scotland is 50% of adults and 80% of children taking exercise of between 30-60 minutes of moderate activity for not less than five days a week.

Conclusion: The Healthy Behaviour of School Aged Children 2003 Study compliments the 2004 report of the Commons Select Committee Report on Health published in May 2004 that predicted if the same trends continue then extreme obesity and fat related illnesses would dramatically increase. Health, Diet and Physical Activity levels remain high on the Scottish Government’s Agenda, in 2003 money was released to recruit 600 active school sport co-ordinators to encourage school pupils in Scotland to get fit.

Comment: Current research supports the notion that there is a health related problem with regards to exercise, sport and physical activity levels in Scotland. The critical questions relate to whether sport in Scotland as it is currently defined and organised can deliver on the health and physical activity agenda. There is a need for educational leadership in Scotland in terms of advice on what activities, how much and where. The Sport and Health agenda do not provide a joined up strategy to alleviate dramatic changes in the levels of physical activity and exercise in Scotland. Scotland indeed the English language only has one word for sport and its limited definition and understanding of the problem requires a more European Approach to Sports Leadership in Scotland.

Source: Let’s Make Scotland More Active

Level 5: Scottish sport and crime

Case Study: East Ayrshire Council New Sporting Futures Project

Content: The East Ayrshire Council New Sporting Futures Project is one of many projects funded out of the UK governments New Opportunity Fund. In Scotland £35 million was ring fenced in 2002 to help set up projects that were designed to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour likely to lead to crime. The East Ayrshire project targets children aged 5-12 and young people 12-18 through a range of sports, coaching initiatives, school physical activity programmes all of which are linked to educational messages about youth crime and drug alcohol misuse. Other projects in Scotland include the Greater Easterhouse Physical Activity Group in Glasgow that again is targeted at deprived inner-city urban social issues based upon the notion that a reduction in youth crime can be affected by education through sport and physical activity. The rationales for such interventions are based upon the premise that crime prevention is not the primary objective of sport and physical activity but it may be a positive by-product. The notion that education through sport can reduce crime and produce a sense of belonging amongst youth is not just a Scottish concern.

Conclusion: Questions about sport and physical activity as strategies in crime prevention need rigorous scrutiny. The above study supports the notion that opportunities for education through sport in this area are valued; that it is possible for such projects to impact upon the rate of motivated offenders and that the key ingredients are not the competitive or physical aspects of sports alone but the social and educational values that sport and physical activity can contribute to in certain settings. In similar UK funded projects some areas of the UK have seen a reduction in total crime of 5.2% over a 5 month period compared to a decrease of 1.9% the previous year (2001).

Comment: Previously cited Scottish research on sport and crime has concluded three broad observations on this issue (1.) Large scale diversionary projects tend to have vague rationales and overtly ambitious objectives. Short term funding means that projects rarely last long enough to become sustainable; (2.) Outreach bottom up approaches, credible leadership and local provision have the best chance of success with most at risk groups and (3.) sport is most effective when combined with programmes addressing wider issues.
Source: For a discussion on sport and crime see The Scottish Executive (2000) The Role of Sport in the Regeneration of Deprived Urban Areas. Edinburgh. Scottish Executive Central Research.; For a discussion on whether culture and sport can reduce crime see Jowell (2002) ‘Culture Can Cut Crime?’

Level 6: Scottish sport, ownership and social inclusion

Case Study: Communitarianism, Sport and Social Capital: A Neighbourly Insight into Scottish Sport
Content: The study looks at the campaign to close a local swimming facility The Govanhill Pool was an Edwardian Baroque building that had been part of the local Govan community in Glasgow since 1914 ( The 87-year-old swimming baths was located within one of the poorest areas in Great Britain. The Southside Against ClosureCampaign began after Glasgow City Council decided to close the swimming baths in March 2001( Residents from the Govanhill area who opposed the council plans to close their pool argued that the 87-year-old pool provided “a vibrant and recreational centre for swimming set in the unhealthiest corner of Europe” (The Scotsman 30 June 2001). Many people from the area could not afford to go to the alternative pools (BBC News 20 July 2001) and it was not safe for children to travel to the alternative pools (BBC News 20 July 2001). The alternative pools did not cater for Muslim women since they did not afford enough privacy.

Conclusion: The community stakeholder model provides but one model of possible conduct for sports clubs through facilitating the community role in the decision-making structures of the sports club. The organisational thinking behind increasing social inclusion and ownership of sports clubs owes much to the principles of mutuality. The co-operative is but one organisational form that is based upon the notion of mutuality and maybe used to that questions the inaccurate assumption that the profit-maximising investor plc is the natural form of sports organisation for the professional sports club in Scotland. Co-operative, mutual philosophies work best when there is a clear opportunity and incentive for people to work closely together for practical mutual interest in increasingly de-mutualised sports societies. In truth few democratic governments have got to grips with the important issue of community ownership of sports clubs and organisations. Ownership matters and is a vital part thinking that informs different philosophies of sports leadership. The socially excluded need a sense of ownership. One of the most intransigent aspects of 21 st century welfare reforms in Scotland is that the poorest 15 percent cannot afford to put cash aside to save for retirement- because they lack capital either in terms of savings or real estate. In all the meanings of that word, the issue of ownership lies at the very heart of a larger debate concerning models of sports leadership contribution to Scotland

Comment: The contribution that sport can make to social inclusion has been a contemporary theme informing governmental thinking about sport. The assumptions are often associated with a form of communitarianism as a basis for thinking about aspects of sport in Scotland. It is unrealistic to expect sport to sustain a notion of social capital or civic engagement or communitarianism or social inclusion without addressing the issue of ownership, obligations and stake-holding in Scottish sport. Education for example is a major contributor to Scottish sport and yet it is a relatively muted voice in terms of ownership or stake-holding in Scottish sport.
Source: For a discussion of ownership models of sport see Morrow (2003). For a discussion of social inclusion and sport see Coalter (2003) and for an expanded version of the case study summarised above see Jarvie (2003b).

Level 7: Scottish sport, deprivation and urban regeneration

Case Study: The Role of Sport in the Regeneration of Deprived Urban Areas

Content: The Scottish Executive commissioned the study in order to evaluate the role that sport has played in the regeneration of urban areas in Scotland and to explore the wider evidence for the assumption that sport can contribute positively to aspects of urban re-generation and social inclusion. The study had two components firstly an exhaustive literature review of published and unpublished research on the potential contribution of Scottish sports to health, crime, educational performance, employment, the environment, and aspects of social inequality. Secondly ten case studies were undertaken of a variety of sports-related initiatives in Scotland to explore the extent to which outcomes can be identified. Information was collected through document analysis, in-depth interviews, group discussions and a telephone survey of participants. Evidence from the report supported the need to develop education and training of skilled professional workers in terms of community development and volunteering in sport.

Conclusion: In relation to the role of sport the study draws three broad conclusions. There is a general absence of systematic evidence relating to the impact of sports-related projects. The key message relating to work in deprived communities and socially excluded groups is that although sport is rarely the solution in many circumstances and used diagnostically it can be part of the solution. There is a clear need for improvement in the systems for monitoring and evaluating sports-related initiatives. Such an approach will strengthen the position of sport in policy in that the precise outcomes associated with sport will be more precise.

Comment: The report supports a key facet of the rationale for the development of a European Sports Leaders Academy. The report specifically calls for organisations such as SALSC to be supported in terms of providing leadership and volunteering through sport in Scotland. It highlights the role of Higher Education in helping the Scottish Executive formulate policy and outcomes for sport in Scotland.

Source: The Scottish Executive (2000) The Role of Sport in the Regeneration of Deprived Urban Areas. Edinburgh. Scottish Executive Central Research. k/cru/kd01/blue/r srdua-01.htm

Level 8: Scottish sport, racism and sectarianism

Case Study: Show Racism the Red Card
Content: The Show Racism the Red Card Campaign (SRTRC) is an anti-racist charity which was established in January 1996 with the aim of using professional footballers as anti-racist role models. The aim of the campaign is to combat racism through anti-racist education. The campaign has engaged footballers and managers and has harnessed the high profile of these role models to combat racism. There is a long history of footballers from ethnic minority backgrounds playing football in Scotland with Andrew Watson being capped three times for Scotland between 1881 and 1882. The Scottish Executive (2003) provided 75K to fund a three-year post to disseminate anti-racist messages through sport and develop links between football clubs, football authorities and local authorities with regard to tackling racism in Scottish football and sport in general. The Show Racism the Red Card initiative has been complemented by other sporting initiatives in Scotland such as ‘The say no to sectarianism football festival in Falkirk organised by Falkirk College and local primary schools in 2003. The then sports Minister Elaine Murray reported that intolerance towards other people, whatever their faith or race had no place in the New Scotland. A particular genre of academic writing on issues of sectarianism and racism in Scottish football has both identified issues relating to sport and these issue but also perhaps added to the significance of problem without being effective in an anti-racist sense.

Conclusion: The stamping out racism in football briefing paper for the Scottish Parliament draws attention to the FIFA Anti-Racism Resolution, which can be accessed at

Comment: Many popular arguments about sport and racism have contributed to a number of racist beliefs about different peoples sporting abilities. A number of popular arguments have contributed to particular explanations. The core arguments have tended to rely on some of the following arguments: that sport (1.) helps to consolidate and challenge patriotism, nationalism and racism; (2.) has some inherent property that makes it a possible instrument of integration and racial harmony; (3.) as a form of cultural politics has been central to processes of colonialism, imperialism, and post-colonialism in different parts of the world; (4.) has contributed to unique political struggles which have involved black and ethnic political mobilization and struggle for equality of and for black peoples and racial minority groups; (5.) is an important facet of racial identities; (6.) has produced stereotypes, prejudices and myths about groups which have contributed both to discrimination against and an under-representation of ethnic minority peoples within certain sports; (7.) that just as race and ethnicity are factors influencing choices that people make when they chose to join or not join certain sports clubs so too are cultures of racism and anti-racism within sports settings; and (8.) that sport needs to develop a more complex set of tools for understanding the limits and possibilities that influences and combats racism and in particular the way such categories historically articulate with other forms of inequality such as gender or social class. Spice briefing 17 May 2004: Stamping Racism Out of Football. See also

Level 9: Scottish sport and youth football

Case Study: Youth Football in Scotland: Structure and Development Review
Content: In 2002 the Scottish Football Association (SFA) together with the Scottish Executive commissioned a group of consultants to review the structure of youth football in Scotland. The remit of the study was to review the existing mechanisms for the identification and development of football talent in children and young people; review the respective roles of respective bodies involved in the administration of youth football; examine the links between the SFA activities in the field of coach education; recommend a strategy for the development of youth football and establish a single national framework for youth football in Scotland. Over an 18-month period evidence was drawn from more than 200 separate individuals and organisations to inform £31 million pound action plan for youth football. Part one of the report highlighted the need for change in terms of strategy and organisation, player pathways and players; facilities; coaching refereeing and volunteers and funding. Part two compared Scotland with 7 other European footballing nations France, Germany, Norway, Holland, Ireland and England. Four strategic goals were identified in relation to governance; player pathway and criteria; support services including education and funding. Scotland has the lowest number of players as a percentage of the population of the seven nations mentioned. Scotland has the lowest number of players per club.2.2% of Scottish players are female compared to 23% in Norway and the level of formal education amongst women footballers in Scotland is higher than that of the men.
Conclusion: The outcome of the review was to recommend some 55 changes to review the structure and development of youth football in Scotland. Scotland has one of the lowest number of players as a percentage of population in Europe. In 2003 they stand at 3.6% which was less than half that of similar countries like Holland and Norway.
Comment: With specific reference to the work of the European Sports Leader Academy the report noted that volunteers requested an improved access to courses, that the education of parents and of coaches, and spectators had given cause for concern. A new quality mark for coaches, schools and clubs will be introduced while a programme of incentives, educational courses and materials will be introduced to attract and reward volunteers into Scottish football. It is an astonishing statistic that in 2002, Scottish football clubs released 350 players. That was 30% of the workforce with the most common age being that of 19.
Source: Scottish Executive Action Plan for Youth Football at

Level 10: Scottish sport, citizenship and volunteers

Case Study: UK Wide Evaluation of the Millennium Volunteers Programmes
Content: The Millennium Volunteers is a UK wide initiative introduced in 1999 and designed to promote a commitment to 200 hours of volunteering in a year by young people aged 16-24. It is based upon 9 Key principles: sustained personal development; community benefit; voluntary participation; inclusiveness; ownership by young people; variety of opportunities; partnership working; quality and recognition of volunteering. By the end of March 2002 2,584 people started as Millennium Volunteers with 519 awards being made.
Conclusion: MV including MV through sport in Scotland has made a significant contribution to local communities through new improved services, increased human capacity, social capital and changing attitudes towards young people and volunteering in general.
Comment: Scotland although having a culture of democratic citizenship and an education system based upon the notion of the democratic intellect also has a crises of provision in terms of volunteers. The ageing demographic profile of Scotland makes this all the more surprising given that volunteers in general in Scotland and in sport in particular tend to be white, male and middle-class. Scottish sport has much to learn from UK and other initiatives in terms of the education, training and development. This needs to be put in place to support and stimulate volunteering in Scottish sport. Research into volunteering in Scottish sport reflects broader trends in relation to social capital and the nature of associational membership of clubs in England and Wales. If membership of voluntary sports associations is viewed as an indicator of social capital then its class and gender bias needs to be explained in relation to sustainable democratic politics in Scotland.

Source: Institute of Volunteering Research (2002) Research Brief No 357, July. London: DFES (access at See also Li, Y, Savage, M, Tampubolon, G, Warde, A and Tomlinson M (2002) 'Dynamics of Social Capital: Trends and Turnover in Associational Membership in England and Wales' Sociological Research Online Vol 7(3): 1-22 at

Level 11: Scottish sport and internationalism

Case Study: Internationalism and Sport in the Making of Nations
Content The study provides a critical discussion of sports alleged role in the making of cultural and political nationalism, patriotism and national identity. The research considers the role that sport has played in promoting forms of reconciliation between nations and regions. The case studies illustrate the normative potential of sport at particular times and in particular places between 1928 and 2003. There are a number of ways in which Scottish sport might be thought of as being actively international or cosmopolitan rather than national. It is equally important not to accept the notion of global sport as the only way of thinking about sport internationally. The case studies outline the role that sport has played in anti-global protests. It is suggested that Scottish sport and sport in other parts of the world can influence new generational attitudes to past conflicts and in a new Scotland this includes sporting and cultural relations between historical enemies such as England.
Conclusion: While sport at times reproduces the politics of contested national and other identities it need not be at the expense of an acceptance of the possibility of internationality or sport being part of the focus of a common humanitarian response.
Comment: Future debates about the educational value of sport and future research into sport, culture and society should forcibly recognise the role that sport has played in promoting internationalism. reconciliation, anti-globalisation and mutual understandings between and within nations. Any discussion of sport in Europe has to recognise the limits and possibilities of sports role in developing forms of internationalism and reconciliation within Europe and between Europe and other places.

Source: Jarvie, G (2003a) ‘Internationalism and Sport in the Making of Nations’ Identities: GlobalStudies in Culture and Power Vol 10 (4): pp537-551.

The material provided is illustrative that there is a robust body of evidence to suggest that sport and related activities have a crucial part to play in education through sport and therefore the values and ideas that Scottish sports leaders impart through sport are far too important to be left to chance. It might be suggested that access to higher education provision may contribute to the enhanced potential and knowledge base upon which sports leadership in Scotland maybe based.

The values at the centre of Scottish sport and the need for an alternative

To some extent the challenges facing Scottish sport are not different from the challenges facing other spheres of activity, which are dominated by market-mediated consumer choice, and the power of individualism (Bentley & Hargreaves 2001). The fundamental structures, which in part help to structure Scottish sport, are not different from those values that impinge upon and penetrate Scotland itself. The core assumption of the proselytisers of individual freedom has been that societies which nurture and protect the unique moral worth of the individual will by definition sustain and maximise the worth of all human existence. In other words what is good for the individual is good for society and where society’s interest is given precedence over that of the individual, intolerance, injustice and even totalitarianism will follow. Against this background, traditional forms of community have come to be seen as barriers to individual achievement and potential. Yet the collective consequences of unchecked individualism and its primary forms of agency market exchange-present basic challenges not just to Scottish society in terms of its cohesiveness and quality of life but also Scottish sport.

In the Britain and Scotland of the late 20 th and early 21 st century the legacy of the New Right’s Kulturkampf, and the initial phase of policy interventions under the New Labour government has in part changed the values of the public domain. The language of the buyer and seller does not sit easily in the old Scottish public domain and where public private sports partnerships are formed a culture of distrust has tended at times to corrode the promise of citizenship, equity and service (Marquand 2000:28). In Scotland the final decades of the 20 th century taught us that the notion of culture is fragile. Any attempts to develop a culture strategy involving the notion of sport as culture were doomed to failure because the public domain had been partially mediated by a culture of private interests, efficiency gains, elitist definitions of culture and accountability. For every volunteer or sports-worker delivering a service in Scotland there seems to be numerous administrators, agencies or otherwise looking over their shoulder to check their work.

The result is a deadly paradox. Economic liberals and socialists have often asserted that trust is fundamental to a healthy market order (Leadbeater 2002:29). Without mutual trust sporting markets could become playgrounds for the rich and powerful since the market domain has the capacity to consume trust and it finds difficulty in sustaining it. In Scottish sport the inability to forge successful trusting partnerships has left the public domain demoralised. The danger signals are there. A culture of sponsorship which has invaded nearly every corner of Scottish sport, the pressure to forge partnerships between the public and private sectors with an interest in sport, the growing relationship which Morrow (2000) has termed the ‘New Business of Football’, the failure in 2000 to secure the initial winning bid to bring the Ryder Cup Golf tournament to Scotland in 2010 and the closure of the Govanhill Swimming Pool in Glasgow are all symptomatic of broader structural problems facing Scottish sport. The latter provides a particularly insightful case study. It also suggests that problems exist in terms of leadership on Scottish Sport.

The campaign against the closure of the Govanhill Swimming Pool in Glasgow is perhaps one of the most recent examples of the breakdown in trust between local community and local government. The Govanhill Pool is an Edwardian Baroque building which has been part of the local Govan community in Glasgow since 1914 ( The 87-year old swimming baths is located within one of the poorest areas in Great Britain. The Southside Against ClosureCampaign began after Glasgow City Council decided to close the swimming baths in March 2001( Council officials argued that “they would have to spend £750,000 on immediate repairs to the building and a further £3 million to bring the pool up to standard” (BBC News 20 July 2001). Local Council representatives went on to argue that “the money would be better spent on new facilities such as those at the relatively nearby Bellahouston and Gorbals leisure centres” (BBC News, 20 July 2001).

Following Glasgow City Councils decision to close the pool the local community occupied the building on the 20 th of April 2001 (The Scotsman, 18 July 2001). The occupation of the building ended on the 7 th August when sheriff officers and the police evicted the occupants of the pool. Residents from the Govanhill area who opposed the council plans to close their pool argued that the 87-year old pool provided “a vibrant and recreational centre for swimming set in the unhealthiest corner of Europe” (The Scotsman, 30 June 2001). Many people from the area could not afford to go to the alternative pools (BBC News, 20 July 2001) and it was not safe for children to travel to the alternative pools (BBC News, 20 July 2001). The alternative pools did not cater for Muslim women since they did not afford enough privacy – Quasim Khan said:

“ My sisters used to use the pool and that they were allowed to do so with their scarves on their heads. But now they will not be allowed to do that because there is nowhere to go. The Gorbals and Bellahouston pools are all glass, so you can’t do that” (BBC News, 20 July 2001).

The local community suggested that the pool should be designated as a healthy living centre which would not only provide the finance for keeping the pool open but provide a day centre and youth facilities (The Evening Times,12 July 2001).
The minutes of the transactions of the Scottish Parliament record the concerns of one MSP who supported the campaign to stop the closure of the pool- She argued
“That the Parliament urges the Scottish Executive to prevent the closure of local swimming baths and, in particular, the imminent closure of Govanhill
Swimming pool in Glasgow, which is extremely popular and whose closure would affect a multitude of regulars plus three swimming clubs (one containing 200 children), there being no facilities for competitive swimming training for children and adults in the area; notes that the Asian community of Glasgow and choolchildren with disabilities would be particularly disadvantaged by closure plans due to the special facilities the pool offers them; further notes that Govanhill is within Shettleston, identified as the most underprivileged constituency in Britain with the highest rates of ill health, and calls upon the Scottish Executive to intervene to aid Glasgow City Council keep Govanhill Baths open, as a sign of good faith in its stated policies of encouraging healthy exercise” (Minutes of the Scottish Parliament SIM-1597).

Following the forced eviction of protesters from the Govanhill pool the campaign moved from the local to the national to the global in efforts to gain support. A community march attended by members of the Scottish Parliament took place in September of 2001. The first ever social and health audit of the community was conducted by local University academics in support of the strategy to have the area designated as a ‘healthy living centre’ and therefore eligible for government funding. Links were made with other local areas of Glasgow, which had been subject to Council orders to close swimming pools. More than 200 people signed a petition to complain about police behaviour throughout the campaign and in particular the day of the eviction (The Scotsman, 11 August 2001). A national campaign called “Heritage Under Threat” had been organised which has brought together seven identified pool campaigns in Britain’s inner cities and had the backing of Gerald Kaufman MP, Chair of a House of Commons Select Committee, who faced a similar pool closure in his own Manchester South constituency ( Messages of support were received from Brisbane and an international discussion forum was initiated. The case of the Govanhill pool was brought to the attention of the House of Lords.

The campaign to save the Govanhill pool is insightful because it was borne out of (1.) a lack of consultation on the issue of closure between local elected Councillors and the local community and (2.) the pressure to move segments of the community to new pleasure pools which were deemed, not by the community, as being cost-saving in the long run. The 1998 White Paper entitled Modernising Local Government: In touch with People states that the government wished to see consultation and participation embedded into the culture of all local councils and that councils have the duty to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area (Brickell 2000:17). This clearly did not happen in the above case study. As Marquand (2000) asserts citizenship rights are by definition equal. Market rewards are by definition unequal. If the public domain of Scottish sport is annexed to, or invaded by, the market domain of buying and selling the primordial democratic promise of equal citizenship and sporting equity in Scotland will be negated. Nowhere is this potentially more evident than in discussions about the ownership of professional sports clubs in Scotland.

Mutual sport in demutualised communities

The issue of ownership of community based sports clubs needs more careful consideration. The importance of the sports club to the city or the community has been widely recognised and yet it in the increasingly commercial global sport marketplace there remains the danger of certain sports clubs becoming increasingly divorced from the local or grass roots fan base. Increasingly demutalised societies and communities have failed in most cases to give sports fans any form of stake-holding in the community sports club. The conventional wisdom in relationship to the ownership of sports clubs remains that of the profit-maximizing, investor-owned plc with the public sector remaining the natural and unchallengeable giants of the modern economy (Morrow 2003). In the 21 st century global economy a number of third sector, non-profit-making organisations continue to flourish. When it comes to building sustainable forms of social capital, generated by a sense of local self-responsibility, neither the private sector nor the public sector seem to offer the ideal solution. The private sector has a history of crowding out the third sector from capital markets and the public sector of bludgeoning mutual or co-operative ventures out of existence. There will continue to be many areas of economic activity where investor owned, profit-maximizing companies will remain dominant but there are many other instances where there remains a need for stronger state/civil regulation or a different form of ownership, or possibly a combination of both. When consumers or employees become owners, their sense of self-esteem, responsibility and participation can be transformed.

It is not unnecessary to dismiss a debate about mutuality as irrelevant to Scottish sport. Sport in many ways is ideally suited to mutuality because of the way in which groups attach themselves to a sporting ideal or common objective. The idea of football trusts which developed in England is simple, if supporters want an increased say in the way that football clubs are run they can achieve it only by ownership. Supporters Direct as a unit of the Football Trust in England supplies legal and financial advice in addition to model constitutions while the Co-op bank help with funding. The first Scottish attempt to form a mutual trust, operating upon co-operative principles was made by a small group of shareholders in Celtic Football Club back in January 2000 (Scotland on Sunday, 23 January:6). The Scottish Executive has refused to inject money into the setting up of football supporters trusts in Scotland and yet ,mutual self-help, historically has been an important aspect of the development of Celtic Football Club. As Morrow (2003: 23) points out one distinctive aspect of the 1995 share issue is that the available shares were nearly all bought by football supporters as opposed to city institutions. The willingness of supporters to take up the share offer in the club demonstrates a sustained level of community pride in the football club. Morrow (2003: 24) goes on to assert that one of the most important things that Celtic supporters have to thank the former club Director Fergus McCann for the opportunity to buy and own part of Celtic Football Club. He commented that ‘ I believe it is important the ordinary supporter has a say in the running of their football club…Celtic Football Club is an institution which should not be in the hands of one individual or the City’ (quoted in Morrow 2003: 24).

The community stakeholder model provides but one model of possible conduct for sports clubs who firstly, aim to demonstrate that they are a vital part of the community and secondly aim to promote and sustain social and economic capital through facilitating the community role in the decision making structures of the sports club (Morrow 2000). The organisational thinking behind increasing community ownership of sports clubs owes much to the principles of mutuality. The co-operative is but one organisational form that is based upon the notion of mutuality. The above case is but an illustrative example that questions the inaccurate assumption that the profit-maximising investor plc is the natural form of sports organisation for the professional sports club in Scotland. Co-operative, mutual philosophies work best when there is a clear opportunity and incentive for people to work closely together for practical mutual interest in increasingly demutualised societies. In truth few democratic governments have got to grips with the important issue of community ownership of sports clubs and organisations. Its natural pragmatism whispers that what works is right, but there is a danger that in rejecting the sterility of the polarised argument about state versus private ownership, the case for diversity in forms of ownership goes un-examined. Ownership matters. The socially excluded need a sense of ownership. One of the most intransigent aspects of 21 st century welfare reforms in Britain is that the poorest 15 percent cannot afford to put cash aside to save for retirement- because they lack capital either in terms of savings or real estate. In all the meanings of that word, the issue of ownership and community should lie at the very heart of a larger debate concerning sports contribution to Scottish civil society but also the nature of sports leadership in Europe.

It comes back to the point that was raised earlier about not so much the nature of sport in Europe but the purpose of sport in Europe and it is this sort of research and teaching that a European Sports Leader Academy would be able to take forward.

Concluding remarks

When the first Minister of Scotland in his St Andrews day speech talked talking Scotland up, about starting with Scotland’s young people, about renewing democracy, about the importance of cultural activities, including sport, he could have almost been paraphrasing Tom Johnston the former Secretary of State for Scotland who in November 1942 charged the then Advisory Council of Education in Scotland with being a parliament of education and seeking how schools could ensure that young people were properly equipped to discharge the duties and exercise the rights of citizenship.

What both Scottish leaders of more than fifty years apart acknowledged was that education in Scotland, and consequently education through sport in Scotland, should not be about purely utilitarian or vocational matters at the expense of not being able to see the bigger picture, ask the critical questions and exercise a commitment to citizenship because these have always been at the heart of the education system in Scotland. The national debate about education in Scotland under a devolved government set out to answer What is the purpose of education in Scotland? The National enquiry started in 2000, reported in 2002 and set priorities for education in Scotland through to 2005 (

The national debate about the purposes of education in Scotland was premised upon a discussion paper, which outlined the purposes of education in Scotland around the following: (1.) Coping with change and uncertainty; (2.) engaging with ideas; (3.) keeping everyone involved with learning; (4.) promoting a sense of identity; (5.) developing necessary skills and (6.) fitting structure to purpose. It is generally acknowledged that education is and has to continue to be at the heart of the knowledge economy in Scotland and knowledge about sport and physical activity contribute in a multitude of ways not only the knowledge economy, but all of the above. Yet what was pleasing about this enquiry was that it was mature enough and brave enough to identify the bigger picture ask the philosophical question and not lead with a debate about jobs, training and enterprise important as all of these all are. It would be refreshing for an open debate in Scotland and Europe about the purposes of sport and the values that should and could inform sports leadership in Europe.

Education and leadership through Scottish sport must not be limited by what is going on in Scotland. This is particularly the case at the beginning of the 21 st century. In the same way as globalisation has been blind to the uneven and differentiated models of state formation emerging in the 21 st century then the same point might be made about our current knowledge of the potential of education through sport in Scotland. It is impossible at this stage to draw up a Scottish balance sheet of the combined effects of education through sport and other social forces with their many contradictions, their exceptions and their unevenness. By the same token it is also impossible to map out the changing patterns of education through sport in Scotland but it is essential that any contemporary understanding of education, leadership and sport in Scotland must actively listen and engage with other sporting communities, places and voices. The overall value of this perhaps lies in a method as a safeguard against inward looking parochialism and as the conscience of cosmopolitan sport least it forgets ‘other’ traditions of sport, the poor or the use of cheap labour in sporting production or forgetting the humanitarian power of sport through education in ‘other’ parts of the world as well as the West. Perhaps it is impossible for humanity to arrive at an understanding of the values that unite it but if the countries of the North cease to automatically impose their own ideas on the rest of the sporting world and start to take due cognisance of other sporting cultures in a common exercise of critical self-examination then perhaps the aspiration of leadership through sport may help to produce an international understanding of sport that become more just and less charitable.

It is not as if what is being said is radical or critical because the same issues are being faced by other governments, local authorities and sports councils all over the world. The equivalent of Sports 21 in Canada actually uses words such as citizen and draws the links between things like education, sport and poverty (Donnelly & Harvey 2003). It draws heavily upon The Progress of Canada’s Children 2001 Report which draws upon the analyses of several national surveys to show, for example, the link between poverty and children’s access to organised sports and physical activity. In particular, the Council points out that more than 60 per cent of children in the poorest Canadian households almost never participate in organised sports, whereas the figure is 27 per cent for children from more affluent homes. It would be useful if we knew the equivalent information for Scotland. The Canadian Council also confirmed the theory that cities that actually gave young people a voice in policy development are more inclusive than others.

A specific comment about education through sport might reflect upon the agents who maybe the product of the Scottish education system. A system, which itself has been critically reviewed but remains internationally respected. Scots have always been ambivalent about freedom but the story of what the education system has given to the Scottish people is the priceless ability to recognise the bigger questions, situate your own position in a wider context and think things out for yourself about what to do about it. Is it worth holding on to the idea that education through sport and physical activity can contribute to this sense of ordered freedom? We have suggested earlier that in many ways the partnership of education through sport and physical activity can really make a difference to the quality of life in Scotland and many other places. Yet an effective partnership in action means that in a country such as Scotland that has often been cited as having a good education system perhaps needs to do more to help sport with it’s challenges. It might be useful to evaluate whether the current partnership of education through sport and physical activity continues to provide pathways of hope for many people in different parts of the world, including Scotland. It is important not to forget the boy or girl who wanted to live the Scottish dream through sport but it is equally important to look after them better through helping to create the conditions to let the relationship of education through sport and physical activity thrive- that would truly be a partnership in action worth trusting and striving for.

The policy priorities of the Scottish Parliament are well established and include, social inclusion, education, health and a range of measures to develop the Scottish economy. Sport has been implicated in all of the above policy areas. Yet despite the recognition of the apparent benefits of sport for all sectors of society, including local and national government the reality is that sport in many parts of Scotland is facing a crisis and part of this crisis it is suggested here is brought about by the lack of trust that permeates the partnerships responsible for delivering Scottish sport. Perhaps one of the key challenges facing the education of sports leaders in Scotland is how do you facilitate a higher degree of trust between the different organisations in order to progress effective leadership in Scottish sport. These are not issues of economic capital but social and human capital.

If anything an International Sports Leader Academy needs to forge notions of trust through sport and it is only upon this basis that effective, progressive sports leadership in Europe can be developed. Much more work needs to be done.


  • There is need to develop an International Sports Leader Academy through which Scottish sport can access, research, ideas, and good practice from Europe.

  • Scottish sporting practice can make a contribution to an International Academy of Sport Leaders but the structures to facilitate Scottish attendance at ISCA and other European initiatives pertinent to Education and sports leadership in Scotland needs to be formalised.

  • The national sports agency for Scotland should nominate SALSC (Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils) as the agency responsible for liaising with ISCA. This should be funded to allow SALSC to nominate and pay for attendance at ISCA events.

  • There is a need to further develop the research base that informs best practice within an International Academy for Sports Leaders and therefore the means to continue the work of the research group set up under this initiative should be a priority.

  • The role of sport in reproducing educational, cultural and social forms of capital needs to be explored further in terms of thinking about how and what forms of leadership and networking are developed through sport.


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