The Lack of Age Representation in the Governance of Rugby Union in England

in Sociology of Sport Journal
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD $64.00

1 year subscription

USD $85.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD $121.00

2 year subscription

USD $158.00

Diversity and representation in sport governing bodies has become an issue for both public discussion and academic debate in recent times. Previous work has primarily centered on gender inequalities within the forever changing masculine terrain of sport. However, no work has yet examined the representation and participation of young people in the decision-making structures of sporting bodies. This paper holds up England’s Rugby Union for organizational analysis, using the notion of homologous reproduction as a heuristic framework. In doing so, it explores the reproduction of this governing body for the systematic exclusion of young people in decision-making processes over the last few decades. This framework is then twined with Article 11 of the United Nation’s Convention for the Rights of the Child, to make the case that the RFU desires homologous reproduction in order to avoid dealing with what youth are currently concerned with –head injuries. Given such a high proportion of rugby’s participants being under twenty-five years of age, we conclude the lack of young people within the decision-making process represents a form of willful discrimination.

White is with Sport and Coaching Sciences, Department of Sport, Health Science and Social Work, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, United Kingdom. White and Pollock are with the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, Newcastle, United Kingdom. Robinson is with Independent Research, Oxford, United Kingdom. Anderson is with the Faculty of Business, Law and Sport, University of Winchester, Winchester, United Kingdom. Bullingham is with the School of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Worcester, United Kingdom. Scoats is with Birmingham City University, Birmingham, United Kingdom.

Address author correspondence to Adam J. White at AdamWhite@brookes.ac.uk.
Sociology of Sport Journal

Article Sections

References

  • AcostaV. & CarpenterL.J. (2005). Women in intercollegiate sport: A longitudinal national study—Twenty-seven year update 1977– 2004. Retrieved from http://webpages.charter.net/womeninsport/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • AldersonP. (2000). School students’ views on school councils and daily life at school. Children and Society 14121134. doi:

  • AndersonE. (2014). 21st century jocks: Sporting men and contemporary heterosexuality. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • AndersonE. & McGuireR. (2010). Inclusive masculinity theory and the gendered politics of men’s rugby. Journal of Gender Studies 19(3) 249261. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • AndersonE. & WhiteA.J. (2017). Sport theory and social problems: A critical introduction (2nd ed.). London, UK: Routledge.

  • AndersonE. & WhiteA.J. (2018). Sport theory and social problems: A critical introduction (2nd ed.). Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • AnthonyS. & JackS. (2009). Qualitative case study methodology in nursing research: an integrative review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 65(6) 11711181. PubMed ID: 19374670 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BattenJ.WhiteA.J.AndersonE. & BullinghamR. (2016). From management to prevention: the new cure for sports concussion. British Journal of Sports Medicine 5012931294. PubMed ID: 27215936 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BradburyS. (2013). Institutional racism, whiteness and the underrepresentation of minorities in leadership positions in football in Europe. Soccer and Society 14(3) 296314. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CashmoreE. & ClelandJ. (2014). Football's dark side: corruption homophobia violence and racism in the beautiful game. New York City, NY: Springer.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ClaringbouldI. & KnoppersA. (2007). Finding a ‘normal’ woman: Selection processes for board membership. Sex Roles 56(7-8) 495507. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CollinsonD.L. & HearnJ. (1996). Breaking the silence: on men, masculinities and managements. In D.L. Collinson & J. Hearn (Eds.) Men as Managers Managers as Men (pp. 124). London, UK: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child (1995). Concluding observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UN/CRC/C/15/Add). Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations. 34.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • CunninghamG.B. (2007). Diversity in sport organizations. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • CunninghamG.B. (2008). Creating and sustaining gender diversity in sport organizations. Sex Roles 58(1–2) 136145.

  • DavidP. (2004). Human Rights in Youth Sport: A critical review of children’s rights in competitive sport. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • DenzinN.K. & LincolnY.S. (2011). Introduction: The discipline and practice of qualitative research. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.) The Sage handbook of qualitative research (4th ed. pp. 120). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Department for Education. (2012). Physical education programmes of study: key stages 3 and 4. . Retrieved from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239086/SECONDARY_national_curriculum_-_Physical_education.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • ERFSU (2015October). Proposal: Youth engagement: England rugby schools and the way forward. England Rugby Football Schools Union Executive Meeting.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FinkJ.S. & PastoreD.L. (1999). Diversity in sport? Utilizing the business literature to devise a comprehensive framework of diversity initiatives. Quest 51310327. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FinkJ.S.PastoreD.L. & RiemerH.A. (2001). Do differences make a difference? Managing diversity in Division IA intercollegiate athletics. Journal of Sport Management 151050. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • FlutterJ. & RudduckJ. (2004). Consulting pupils: what’s in it for schools? Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

  • FreemanM. (1996). Children’s education; a test case for best interests and autonomy. In: R Davie & D Galloway (Eds.) Listening to children in education. London, UK: David Fulton.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • GeorgeA.L. & BennettA. (2005). Case studies and theory development in the social sciences (4th ed.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • GlaserB. & StraussA. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. London, UK: Weidenfeld and Nicholson24(25) pp. 288304.

  • GubaE.G. & LincolnY.S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. Handbook of Qualitative Research 2(163–194) 105.

  • HindleyD. (2007). Resource guide in governance and sport. Retrieved from http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/hlst/documents/resource_guides/governance_and_sport.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HM Government. (2016). Sporting Future—A new strategy for an active nation. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sporting-future-a-new-strategy-for-an-active-nation

    • Export Citation
  • HoeberL. (2007). Exploring the gaps between meanings and practices of gender equity in a sport organization. Gender Work & Organization 14(3) 259280.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • HoltN.L.TinkL.N.MandigoJ.L. & FoxK.R. (2008). Do youth learn life skills through their involvement in high school sport? A case study. Canadian Journal of Education/Revue canadienne de l'éducation. 281304.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JacksonG. & RitchieI. (2007). Leave it to the experts: the politics of ‘athlete-centredness’ in the Canadian sport system. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing 2(4) 396411. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JohnP. (2009). Can citizen governance redress the representative bias of political participation? Public Administration Review 69 (3) 494504. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • JosephL.J. & AndersonE. (2015). The influence of gender segregation and teamsport experience on occupational discrimination in sport-based employment. Journal of Gender Studies 25(5) 586598. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KanterR.M. (1977). Men and women of the corporation. New York, NY: Basic Books.

  • KatwalaS. (2000). Democratising global sport. London, UK: The Foreign Policy Centre.

  • KihlL.KikulisL. & ThibaultL. (2007). A deliberative democratic approach to athlete-centred sport: the dynamics of administrative and communicative power. European Sport Management Quarterly 7(1) 130. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KilbourneS. (1998). The wayward Americans—why the USA has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child and Family Law Quarterly 10243256.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • KnoppersA. & AnthonissenA. (2008). Gendered managerial discourses in sport organizations: Multiplicity and complexity. Sex roles 58(1–2) 93103.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LapchickR.BrendenJ. & WrightB. (2006). The racial and gender report card of the Associated Press sports editors. Institute for Diversity and Ethic in Sport. Retrieved from http://www.blackathlete.com/artman/uploads/APSE%20Diversity%20Study.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LimberS.P. & FlekkøyM.G. (1995). The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Its relevance for social scientists. Ann Arbor, MI: Society for Research in Child Development.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • LundyL. (2007). ‘Voice’ is not enough: conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. British Educational Research Journal 33(6) 927942. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MaierM. (1999). On the gendered substructure of organization. Dimensions and dilemmas of corporate masculinity. In G.N. Powell (Ed.) Handbook of Gender & Work. London, UK: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MezJ.DaneshvarD.H.KiernanP.T.AbdolmohammadiB.AlvarezV.E.HuberB.R.CormierK.A. (2017). Clinicopathological evaluation of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in players of American football. JAMA 318(4) 360370. PubMed ID: 28742910 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • MurrayA. & WhiteA. (2015). Twelve not so angry men: Inclusive masculinities in Australian contact sports. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 52(5) 536550. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Youth Council. (2011). Youth Survey 2010: Your Game Your Voice Get it Heard! Retrieved from: http://adam-white.org/resources/Your%20Voice%20Your%20Say%20-%20NYC%20Report%202011%20AW.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • NewigJ. & FritschO. (2009). Environmental governance: participatory, multi-level - and effective? Environmental Policy and Governance 19(3) 197214. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • O'DonoghueJ.L.KirshnerB. & McLaughlinM. (2002). Introduction: Moving youth participation forward. New Directions for Youth Development 20021526. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • OrtonN. (2015). Effecting Change within the ERFSU: Report to ERFSU Executive Committee– 7th June 2015. London, UK: Rugby Football Union.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • PhelanS. (2011). Case study research: design and methods. Evaluation & Research in Education 24(3). 221222. doi:

  • PollockA. (2014). Tackling Rugby: What every parent should know about injuries. Verso Books.

  • PollockA.M.WhiteA.J. & KirkwoodG. (2017). Evidence in support of the call to ban the tackle and harmful contact in school rugby: a response to World Rugby. British Journal of Sports Medicine 5111131117. PubMed ID: 28701366 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • RobinsonC. & TaylorC. (2007). Theorizing student voice: Values and perspectives. Improving schools 10(1) 517. doi:

  • Rugby Football Union. (2011). Youth survey 2010. Retrieved from http://adamjohnwhite.co.uk/resources/Your%20Voice%20Your%20Say%20-%20NYC%20Report%202011%20AW.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rugby Football Union. (2015). About the RFU. Retrieved from http://www.englandrugby.com/about-the-rfu/

  • RutherfordS. (2001). Any difference? An analysis of gender and divisional management styles in a large airline. Gender Work & Organization 8326345.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • SartoreM.L. & CunninghamG.B. (2007). Explaining the under-representation of women in leadership positions of sports organizations: A symbolic interactionist perspective. Quest 59244265. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ShawS. & HoeberL. (2003). “A strong man is direct and a direct woman is a bitch”: Gendered discourses and their influence on employment roles in sport organizations. Journal of Sport Management 17347375. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ShierH. (2001). Pathways to participation: openings, opportunities and obligations. Children and Society 15(2) 107117. doi:

  • Slaughter & May. (2011). Review of governance for the rugby football union. Retrieved from http://www.englandrugby.com/about-the-rfu/slaughter-and-may-governance-report/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sport England. (2012). Sport England Governance Strategy: On board for better governance. Retrieved from https://www.sportengland.org/media/74450/20120802-se-governance-strat-final-updatedfor-website.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StanglJ.M. & KaneM.J. (1991). Structural variables that offer explanatory power for the underrepresentation of women coaches since Title IX: The case of homologous reproduction. Sociology of Sport Journal 84760. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • StewartA. (2014). Case study. In J. Mills & M. Birks (Eds.) Qualitative methodology: A practical guide (pp. 145159). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ThibaultL. & BabiakK. (2005). Organizational changes in Canada’s sport system: toward an athlete-centred approach. European Sport Management Quarterly 5 (2) 105132. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • ThibaultL.KihlL. & BabiakK. (2010). Democratization and governance in international sport: Addressing issues with athlete involvement in organizational policy. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics 2(3) 275302. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • TrailG. & ChelladuraiP. (2000). Perceptions of Goals and Processes of Intercollegiate Athletics: A Case Study. Journal of Sport Management 14154178. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • United Nations. (1948). Universal declaration of human rights. UN General Assembly.

  • United Nations. (1989). Convention on the rights of the child. United Nations Treaty Series. (vol. 1577 p. 3).

  • WhisenantW.A.PedersenP.M. & ObenourB.L. (2002). Success and gender: Determining the rate of advancement for intercollegiate athletic directors. Sex Roles 47485491. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WhiteA. (2016). Adam White: Why tackling in school rugby should be banned. The British Medical Journal (Blogs). Retrieved from http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2016/03/10/adam-white-ban-tackling-in-school-rugby-my-reasons-for-support/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WhiteA. & AndersonE. (2017). Making men in the 21st century: Metrosexuality and bromance in contemporary rugby. In J. Nauright & T. Collins (Eds.) The Rugby world in a professional era. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WhiteA.J.BattenJ.RobinsonS.AndersonE.BurnsA.BateyJ.DiscombeR. (2018). Tackling in physical education rugby: an unnecessary risk? Injury Prevention 24(2):114115. PubMed ID: 29363589 doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • WilliamsP. (2002). Battle lines on three fronts: The RFU and the lost war against professionalism. The International Journal of the History of Sport 19(4) 114136. doi:

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Women’s Sports and Fitness Foundation. (2015). Trophy women? 2015– No more board games. Retrieved from https://www.womeninsport.org/resources/trophy-women-2015-no-more-board-games/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Article Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 4 4 4
Full Text Views 0 0 0
PDF Downloads 0 0 0

Altmetric Badge

PubMed

Google Scholar