Politics in sports is at all levels, regardless of whether it is professional or amateur. If you have ever been involved in street football or any other kind of sports in your neighbourhood, chances are you have experienced sports politics.

Those days in Nigeria, each time young people come together to play football, we always have a selection problem due to the sheer number of people interested in playing. In most cases, we ended up succumbing to the judgment of the majority, or so to say, "LEADER." All these actions are politics in sports.

It's even common to see the owner of the football giving commands, dictating who to play and who not to his ball. Peradventure you ended up not being selected and you got angry, all you'd hear from other people is "try to buy your ball next time so that you can decide or make the rules." All these are politics in football!

When it comes to sports politics, it is quite different from what we get in sporting activities on the street. There is always a group of officials that make the rules and every sportsperson knows his or her role. There are also referees, judges, or umpires that decide who wins. All you have to do as a performer is to do your best to be on the winning side.

Therefore, as you can see, there are politics in sports at all levels. However, at the professional level, there is a sort of sports diplomacy given to athletes to represent their country.

We shall be looking at a few instances where politics in sports was fully displayed in recent times.

Sports Politics
Novak Djokovic showed his displeasure against Wimbledon's political stance | Photo Credit: Pixabay
The best Personal training tutors available
Fola
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fola
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Andrew
5
5 (8 reviews)
Andrew
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Paul
5
5 (11 reviews)
Paul
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Prince
5
5 (12 reviews)
Prince
₦1500
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Paul
5
5 (5 reviews)
Paul
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Hannah
5
5 (8 reviews)
Hannah
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Oladokun
5
5 (8 reviews)
Oladokun
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Abdulrazaq
Abdulrazaq
₦6500
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Fola
5
5 (5 reviews)
Fola
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Andrew
5
5 (8 reviews)
Andrew
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Paul
5
5 (11 reviews)
Paul
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Prince
5
5 (12 reviews)
Prince
₦1500
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Paul
5
5 (5 reviews)
Paul
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Hannah
5
5 (8 reviews)
Hannah
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Oladokun
5
5 (8 reviews)
Oladokun
₦5000
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Abdulrazaq
Abdulrazaq
₦6500
/h
Gift icon
1st lesson free!
Let's go

Wimbledon's Ban on Russian and Belarusian Lawn Tennis Players

Of all the sports politics we have experienced, the most recent is the ban imposed on Russian and Belarusian players due to the Invasion of Ukraine. While most of the other athletes are cool with the decision, it is the world's number one tennis player, Novak Djokovic that has voiced his displeasure with the decision.

Djokovic will be defending his title in the men's singles championship. However, he has reacted to the actions of Wimbledon and has said he cannot support the move of bringing politics into sports.

Since Wimbledon has decided to use its power to influence how the tournament should go, the likes of Daniil Medvedev, world number two in men's tennis, won't be featuring in this year's tournament slated for June 27 to July 10.

The banning of some top players from Wimbledon has caused a lot of tension in various camps, with potential legal threats being expected from various people.

According to Djokovic, he is not in support of war and will never be in support of injustice. He explained that he had experienced war while growing up and understands all the emotional traumas that come with it.

However, he said that doesn't mean athletes who know nothing about the political well-being of their nations should be subjected to the happenings in their countries.

Now, some former top tennis players such as Ukrainian Elina Svitolina has said that banning these players completely is not the best solution. Instead, players should be allowed to express their thoughts about the invasion of Ukraine to know if they are in support or against the war.

Here's an article on doping in sports.

The Impact of Dennis Rodman's Meeting with North Korea Leader

Away from the negative impact of politics in sports (as portrayed in Wimbledon), sports and politics have also helped in some kind of unification.

In 2013, Dennis Rodman, a former American NBA player known for his flamboyant lifestyle visited North Korea with his NBA team. Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea and a passionate fan of basketball couldn't hide his excitement during the visit.

Leader Kim and Dennis Rodman met and had some discussions. Upon Rodman's return to the United States, he proclaimed Kim Jong-un as his friend for life. He was able to build a tie between the two countries and how he did it remains a mystery to most people.

After four years (2017), Rodman returned to North Korea with the hope of reuniting with his friend. However, he was only able to meet with the Minister of Sports. Rodman was welcomed and they toured various basketball facilities and events in the country. In 2018, he made another visit to the country.

That same 2018 was the year both South and North Korea came together to compete in the Olympics. This was a clear instance of sports diplomacy.

Is Dennis Rodman planning on revisiting North Korea? That we can't say for now. However, everyone admired his diplomacy skill and its impact on the world of sports.

Sports and Politics in Nigeria
A novelty football match creating awareness of brutality in Nigeria Photo Credit: Unsplash

The Political Willpower of Sports In Nigeria

Nigeria as a country is in a state of a quagmire as we speak and most Nigerians are tired of all the recent happenings in the country. From corrupt politicians, and insecurity, to religious and tribal divides. All these are the issues plaguing the country right now.

However, despite all the troubles and discrimination in Nigeria, the political willpower of sports has been one of the driving forces of moving the country. Nigerians can disagree on almost everything save sports.

Unfortunately, the political atmosphere in Nigeria is gradually taking a toll on how various sectors are operated, including sports. The body of the sport in Nigeria is going through a lot at the moment and this can be seen in our performances in various sports activities.

The recent one was the loss of our place in the 2022 football world cup. We lost to Ghana and the rematch was played in Abuja. After the match, one could notice the displeasure of Nigerians by their acts in the stadium. Properties were destroyed, with a lot of grievances here and there.

Nigerians believe that the politics of the country is harming sporting events in the country, which is only one of the few things making Nigerians happy at the moment.

Read about how women's participation in sports has grown over time. 

Sports and Politics
A rugby ball to be used for a game that united South Africans | Photo Credit: Unsplash

The Mandela Challenge

For decades, rugby was a popular sport in South Africa. However, it seemed that it was only enjoyed by the White South Africans. In 1953, the apartheid system was introduced in which all the political power was with them and they relegated the black South Africans to go live in villages. They closed every opportunity to better the lives of the Blacks.

As much as they tried to make this unnoticed by the world, it was difficult for them to conceal the act.

From 1964, athletes from South Africa were banned from participating in Olympic events. Only the White South Africans seemed to be getting funding and receiving training. In a diverse country like South Africa, it only means something wasn't right when only Whites represented the country in various sporting events.

Apart from banning the country from the Olympics, a petition was filed against the hateful gesture the Whites are displaying towards the Blacks.

Furthermore, in the 1987 and 1991 Rugby World Cup tournaments, the South African Rugby Team was also banned from participating. The apartheid system grudgingly came to an end after the 1991 rugby World Cup event.

A year before the 1991 World Cup, Nelson Mandela was released from prison. This was the beginning of the turning point for South Africa. In 1994, the first democratic government was formed and Mandela was handed the mantle to restore unity among all South Africans (White and Blacks).

While at the seat of government, Mandela took it upon himself to include the Black population in rugby and to make it a national sport. Though it looked like an insurmountable task, they allowed him to try to see how far he could go with the unification.

The first match South Africa had after the unity of the Whites and Blacks was with New Zealand. The stadium experienced a roaring voice of South Africans who at the time, had revised their national anthem to suit both parties (Whites and Blacks).

At the end of the game, President Nelson Mandela stepped into the arena. The chant from the spectators (mostly Whites) calling his name was terrific. Mandela worked so hard to create unity between the White and Black South Africans.

What a beautiful scene it was seeing White spectators hailing their first Black president in a country that has a history of division among races. It all started with rugby and today South Africans are living together as one regardless of race.

The only issue that still needs attention in the world of sports is female athletes and the inequality they get in sports. This is a global phenomenon that is gaining some attention already. However, more needs to be done to give female athletes fair treatment as their male counterparts.

 

>

The platform that connects tutors and students

First Lesson Free

Enjoyed this article? Leave a rating.

5.00 (1 rating(s))
Loading...

Justin

A seasoned writer with a knack for various niches. As a physics graduate, I enjoy carrying out detailed research on a particular topic before drafting up an eye-catching and engaging article.