Sport and politics

sport has become a big business. No team or club can shine without sponsorship. Sport stars can win millions of dollars yearly while a large number of their fans live on less than US$5 a day.

Sport has become a calming pill for many. It’s better to argue about sport events than to be haunted by daily and world problems. Sports have become a daily celebration of team spirit.

For states, sport is a source of national pride in case its athletes win medals. They become national heroes. Holding major sporting events like the Olympic Games is a historic event. Just winning the bid increases the popularity of the political leaders.

Historically, the OG have been intertwined with politics. The Moscow OG were boycotted by the West in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In retaliation 14 Countries took part in the Soviet led boycott of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Israel has to compete for qualifications in games outside the Middle East because it has diplomatic relations just with Jordan and Egypt. This means for a country to hold a major international sporting event, it shouldn’t first be internationally isolated

The aim of sport is to live moments of competition in the spirit of fairness and to break the barriers between people of different races and cultures. It is a celebration of endurance and fair competition. But it has become an occasion to make political points as the weight of the event is likely to affect the success of the tournament. For China, no government is likely to call for the boycott of the games in view of political consideration. But if there is a successful campaign against its internal and foreign policy, the disastrous effect is when the public boycott the games by not travelling to Beijing or watch the games on TV. It can be disastrous even for businesses sponsoring the games. All this is improbable as people are more interested in their heroes than in political campaigns.

Perhaps sport shouldn’t be politicised. There are political forums for political issues like the UN where debates should be held. The games don’t last more than a month but political problems can persist for years if there are no practical solutions. Politicians are thick skinned. They can’t be scared off by marches or demonstrations. There is also the power of the media and businesses which will eclipse the effect of campaigns.

People need moments of escape from world events and their troubles. We shouldn’t mar their existence with too much politics. People are to watch games bearing the banners of their favourite teams and heroes, cheering them, and not to chant political slogans in an event meant for celebrating sports.

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