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Sport and Diplomacy


Since the era of the ancient Olympic Games, sporting competition has assisted human societies in mediating estrangements, resolving conflict and sublimating competitive urges. 

Topics covered

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


  • Five written online activities (30% of the module mark)
  • 5,000 word essay (70%).