This article analyzes government and quasigovernmental agencies’ use of “planning dictates” in relationships with national sporting organizations (NSOs) in Canada and national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport in the United Kingdom (UK). Attention is drawn to the asymmetries of power contouring elite sport policy developments in both countries that, though unobservable in an empirical sense, nonetheless warrant investigation. The analysis draws on semistructured, in-depth interviews with key personnel in three Canadian NSOs and three UK NGBs in swimming, athletics, and sailing; senior officials at Sport Canada and UK Sport; and sport-policy analysts and academics. Although Canadian NSOs have been subject to such planning dictates for the past 20 to 30 years, the requirement for UK NGBs to comply in this way have only emerged since the mid-1990s. Accordingly, the article concludes with suggestions for further research in the UK.
Mick Green and Barrie Houlihan
This article investigates the nature of, and policy outcomes from, the relationship between federal/central government departments and agencies and the national sporting organizations (NSOs) for athletics in Australia and the United Kingdom. We draw on neo-Foucauldian writings on “governmentality” to problematize governmental activities directed at shaping, channeling, and guiding the conduct of NSOs. We conclude that, although effective “responsibilization” of NSOs remains a clear ambition, governments in both countries have shown themselves to be very willing to apply disciplinary forms of practice in order to ensure compliance with prevailing government rationalities.