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Sport and diplomacy do they mix?

by on April 11, 2014

The sport is a mirror of society , it seems. This is certainly a relevant statement when it comes to international diplomacy ! Sport is a tool that exacerbates existing tensions and pacifying relations between States wishing to engage
Increasingly publicized in the twentieth century , sport has gradually become a political forum which strategic issues sometimes compete with physical feats . Major sporting events can now be followed by millions of people around the world, making the host country and the target participants of international attention and allowing politicians to use the image of their country and conveyed to initiate or influence international negotiations. This is called diplomacy sport.
Sporting achievements can participate in the prestige of a state and spread a positive image among the international public opinion, thus reinforcing what international politics is known as soft power ( soft power ) , that is ie the ability of a state to use its political, economic and cultural influence to influence the acts or omissions of his peers. It is therefore possible that the football prestige of Spain leads us unconsciously to positively change our image of this country yet in financial difficulty.

The political use of sport can have a positive or negative impact on diplomacy, but will never be an excuse to changes previously required by States. Indeed, when between two states the political situation is tense, sport can be a vehicle of reconciliation provided there is a genuine desire to change. Sport then used as a pretext to trigger the resumption of cordial relations , but must be part of an overall strategy.
The organization of the event itself requires a diplomatic dialogue must determine the date and place of the meeting taking into account the political interests of all participating States and must be adjusted to the political magnitude of the event grade dignitaries will go there . The presence of diplomats on this occasion indeed give rise to very free informal discussions , and no official challenge , which facilitates decision- contact.
India and Pakistan are big fans of this method: their shared enthusiasm for cricket provides great media and political manipulation games opponents , which led until 2005 remarkable parallels between these two states despite the importance of their disagreements.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, centre back, and Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, fourth from left at back, shake hands with Pakistan players ahead of the Cricket World Cup semi-final match between India and Pakistan in Mohali, India, Wednesday, March 30, 2011.
Ping Pong has also played an important role in the history of diplomacy as the Cold War limited direct contact between the great powers , the U.S. table tennis team was invited in 1971 to visit a week in China. A year later it was the turn of President Nixon to visit Mao Zedong , while urging the Chinese Prime Minister to assert that ” never before in history had the sport been used so effectively in the service of international diplomacy ” . In November 2011, the ping- pong led to new rival powers to gather at a sporting event in Qatar, where guests were (among others) North Korea and South Korea , India and Pakistan, China and the United States.
But if sport can help in solving conflicts, it can also endorse , or even worse , as was the case for the ” football war “. In 19ANDISHEH NOURAEE69, the games of the World Cup football match between Honduras and El Salvador have been the trigger of a four-day war that killed 2,000 people. Territorial conflict was between the two states for more than 30 years and led them to cease diplomatic relations , but the chance of the draw for the World Cup with the designated opponent , political issues were exacerbated by the nationalistic pride after sport.



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One Comment
  1. lir0131 permalink

    Sports Diplomacy is growing, and the debate over whether diplomacy and sport should mix continues. Sport is a major part of modern life and, undoubtedly, it is a powerful tool to reach out and build relationships. The good example of this is Ping-Pong Diplomacy, as you have mentioned; or Cricket Diplomacy in case of India and Pakistan. But, i can agree with your statement that sport often can be not only a solution of conflicts between states or peoples, but often can be seen as the reason of such conflicts, for example, in case of the ‘football war’ or Olympics boycotts.

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