The dark side of sport management

H. Thomas R. Persson, Dino Numerato, Simone Baglioni

Research output: Chapter in Book/ReportChapter in book


Conflicts of interest, financial irregularities, misuse of power, lack of transparency, manipulation of trust, ideological struggles, social exclusion; these are different examples of the dark sides challenging contemporary sport governance. Although the emergence of various dark sides has been inherent to sports associations since their origins, recent literature on sport management has argued that their frequency has increased, hand in hand with the growing encroachment of sport with politics, mass media, sponsorship and business. Notwithstanding the relatively high importance of the dark sides in contemporary sport governance, academic attention on this phenomenon has rather limited. To reduce this gap in the literature, this chapter summarizes existing scholarship about the phenomenon and considers potential future developments within SGBs in relation to their dark sides. We define as the dark sides of sport governance those behaviours that are detrimental for sport, sport associations and their civil and democratic nature, or those behaviours violating legal or organizational norms, or those that are deliberately harmful for sporting people, specific social groups or even for the whole society.  Frequently, the dark sides of sport governance are expressed through power games, allegiances or various forms of corruption. On the other hand, the dark sides of sport governance shall not be confused with any form of struggle and conflict, which can be an inherent part of sport governance and democratic discussion among members and governance boards. Throughout this chapter we emphasize also that an emergence of the dark sides in sport governance cannot be grasped solely in terms of mere personal and isolated scandals as it is frequently represented in the media portrayal of single scandals and affairs related to sport management. Additionally, the dark sides of sport governance must be viewed as a product of structural and systematic developments of contemporary sport, governance and overall society. In other words, the dark sides of sport governance must not be perceived exclusively as particular conflicts, struggles or plots organized by single persons or small groups, but rather as the results of more general social processes and developments, the increasing interconnection of sport business, media and sponsorship and encroachment with politics. This happens not only at a global level of sport governance and management related to professional and elite sport, but also at national levels of sport governance and management of amateur sport.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationManaging sport
Subtitle of host publicationsocial and cultural perspectives
EditorsHassan , Lusted
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-0-415-57216-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Other Social Sciences (509)


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