1st Global Symposium
Sport: Probing the Boundaries

Inaugural Meeting of The International Association for the Interdisciplinary Study of Sport

Saturday 2nd December 2017 – Sunday 3rd December 2017
Vienna, Austria

Conference Abstracts and Papers





Commercialisation of Indian Sports—a Sea Change
Suresh Kumar
Noida.College of Physical Education, India

Key Words:
Kabaddi, Target Rating Point, Cricket, Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Premier League

In every village, town and city in the most part of globe, there is somebody or two who desire to become a celebrity in sports. These are male, female and boy or girl who takes to sport not merely to fill up their spare time. No doubt they can become champions – may be even world-beaters with great fame and enrichment. Indian cricketers are enriched by the profit generated from sports.

For till quite recently much of the name, fame, wealth and recognition were reserved for one sport that is only cricket. In fact cricketer which began to be played in India as an exotic sport of the British colonisers in the 18th century, has strong struck deep roots in the soil here as an outcome of the support and encouragement by a patronage to its ruling class and the princely households. Cricket has number one game status only in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Moreover, in hockey, India won eight golds in Olympics.

In fact, the new millennium has somehow changed the way we consume sport. Kabaddi is a conventional team pursuit games, played in India and South Asian. Kabaddi, a tram version of tag grappling, requiring strength, endurance, agility, requiring the players to run and hold their breath for a long time. Kabaddi has a countryside flavor in India, though the sporting world is awakening to its athletic appeal, as lung power, team work, discipline demanding sharp mind. Kabaddi penetration in Europe and the Americans via expatriates from Asian sub-continent.

The launch of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) in 2014 gave Kabaddi a new magnitude. Big money also made inroads. Among other things that worked to boost Kabaddi star signed a record of RS. 300 crore title sponsorship deal with Chinese smartphone company Vivo in May 2017. Today, sports marketing has become a major business.

In fact, when it reached a staggering 43.5 crore viewers. Season 5 will see dozen team up from eight season, competing from July 28 to October 28 2017 for 8 crore(80 million). Target Rating Point(TRP) figure for Season 2 have not been made available, the first two weeks of season 3 were watched by 18.9 crore (189 million) viewers. The data for season 4 is not available either but most venues witnessed packed indoor stadia. The focus was on Kabaddi taking part in Professional Kabaddi League in India like English Premier League Football, the National Football League, National Basketball Association (NBA) and Grand Slam Tournament for Tennis enjoy unprecedented money and media coverage.

Taking Stock and Making Sense of Match-Fixing: New Directions for Interdisciplinary Research
Andy Harvey
Swansea University,

Key Words:
integrity, match-fixing, corruption, gambling, crime, fraud, football

Integrity in sport, and match-fixing in particular, has become the subject of  emerging scholarly research and sport professional interventions and initiatives, alongside a growing sports’ integrity industry that encompasses betting monitoring and private global security firms as well as national and international police forces. Academic approaches to understanding match-fixing include contributions from the disciplines of law, economics, ethics, sociology, criminology, psychology, anthropology, politics, statistics and management. With just a handful of exceptions, these approaches are constrained within their disciplinary boundaries and offer unsatisfactory explanatory frameworks that are under-theorised, empirically thin and analytically reductive, failing to account for the complex interactions between  socio-cultural, political and economic contexts and forces and the behaviours of individuals and groups who become involved in match-fixing. Further, the opaque (due to its fraudulent nature) and multi-faceted character of match-fixing that operates, inter alia,  at the macro level at the intersection of the multi-billion pound global business behemoths of sport and gambling (both legal and illegal), at the meso level at the juncture of sports organisations, governance structures and local criminal interests, and at the micro level of individual and group behaviour, requires an interdisciplinary approach, encompassing academics and professionals, that can account for these levels of complexity and the mutually constituting processes that are involved. In this paper, and drawing upon psychosocial theoretical insights and empirical research with football stakeholders, including professional footballers from nine European countries, I will outline the contours of an interdisciplinary approach to understanding match-fixing that draws upon the work of professional actors in the field, such as the sports integrity companies, as well as academic outputs. The purpose of the paper will be to sketch a future research agenda that can break free of disciplinary and professional boundaries in order to provide richer explanations of this emerging and persistent threat to the integrity of sport.

Leadership, Bridging, and Group-game Engineering: Best Practice in Community Sport
Philippe Crisp
University of Chichester

Key Words:
coaching, community, facilitation, practice, rapport, relationships, inclusivity, leadership

Purposeful engagement with community matters continues to underpin the UK government’s approach to sport and sports coaching. However, the development of skills and competence for sports coaches is often limited to the domains of sports performance (Potrac et al., 2002; Cassidy et al., 2004; Meyers, 2006). And questions are left regarding the necessary nature of contextual effectiveness for community sport initiatives. This study used interviews with ten community coaches from the south of England with significant experience (minimum 3 years full time equivalent) and  aimed to establish what they thought was best practice in relation to operational management (in the context of coaching), leadership qualities, and group cohesion and project success. The coaches within this study demonstrated that the following four approaches to community sports coaching can be used: 1) Establish common ground, 2) Develop relationships, 3) Prioritise inclusivity (through boundaries and through game/activity management), and 4) Highlight meaningful activity and contribution to games for all participants. These results point to a growing need for a recognition of this model within coach education processes related to community sport projects.

Consuming Health and Sport in Tourism Retreats: Examining Relations Between Customer Experience, Satisfaction, Subjective Well-being, and Loyalty
Timo Derriks
University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands

Key Words:
customer journey, health retreats, satisfaction, subjective well-being, experience, loyalty

Consuming health and sport in tourism retreats: examining relations between customer experience, satisfaction, subjective well-being and loyalty.
The health tourism industry is a growing market with an increasing amount of retreats targeting customers who want to eat healthy and exercise during their holidays. These retreats focus on offering healthy lifestyle activities with coaching, and include for example careful meal planning and personal programming of sport activities. Resorts marketing themselves as health retreats serve tourists from all over the world and can be found all over the world. For these retreats it is important to deliver high quality services and satisfy customers to create loyalty to prevent losing customers to the competition. The main focus of this study is to examine the relationship between customer satisfaction, experience, subjective well-being and customer loyalty. In this study, data was collected and analyzed emphasizing consumers of one particular health retreat in Thailand, to serve as an example. Quantitative data from 77 visitors of this retreat has been collected with an online questionnaire. The main focus was on the actual, consumed experience during a stay at the retreat, however, it also involved the pre-arrival stage and asked about the after-program care to best support a healthy lifestyle. A Chi-square test was used to test hypotheses relating the various factors.  The findings show that customer satisfaction at this resort was not the main factor that lead to customer loyalty. The customer experience and the subjective well-being seemed to play a more important role in relation to customer loyalty. Three factors were identified to have an impact on customer loyalty: the staff, the food and the fitness activities. Nevertheless, results also showed that some customers were rather dissatisfied with the resort check-in and check-out process, the rushed, inconsistent information upon arrival and the crowding during high season. Managerial implications include a list of recommendations on which to focus on so that journeys of visitors to health retreats could be improved, leading to a better experience, increased customer satisfaction and therefore customer retention.

Download Draft Conference Paper (pdf)

Power play at the Indian Mughal Court: An introspection of physical culture
Parul Gaur
University of Delhi, India

Key Words:
Physical culture, Mughal, Sports, Rulers, Games, Society

In the sixteen and seventeenth century Indian subcontinent was ruled by a powerful Mughal dynasty. The Persian language term “Mughal” broadly signified people of Central Asian regions. Every historical dynasty had its own cultural traditions. The outward manifestation of cultural activity would include physical culture, sports, images, dance and so forth. Physical culture and it’s varied forms (sports, games, gymnastics etc.) were useful because they reflected closely the society in which they were embedded. These activities also enjoyed tremendous visibility.
Sports and games have a demonstrated historic pattern one that gives its recognizable form and that speaks for its continuation in future. They need to be studied in a broader social and cultural context. The Indian Mughal rulers developed varied form of physical activities, games and sports. The paper intend to explore issues like why did the Mughal rulers  constructed particular form of physical culture, what they meant to different group of people and to what extent these physical activities fulfilled the Mughal society requirements.

The physical culture patronized by Mughal rulers was characterized by playfulness involved, excitement, medium for displaying identity, a contested domain where the focus of domination and resistance could operate and also provide cohesiveness to the society.
The Mughal rulers tended to expand and consolidate their regime and power which led to an increase in military confrontation. Soldiers were required for battles and it was important to keep them physically active and fit. It was against this background that the Mughal rulers developed physical culture.

Download Draft Conference Paper (pdf)

What Has Sports Values-Themed Learning Ever Done for US?
Derek Peaple
Park House School, UK

Key Words:
Interdisciplinary approaches to sports-themed learning in a secondary school

Park House School is a mixed 11-18 Community School of 1020 students and former national Sports College of the Year. It was the first educational establishment in the country to receive the ‘Inspired by 2012’ Award from the Cabinet Office for its work in embedding Olympic-themed learning, with Ofsted additionally concluding ‘a values-centred ambition for students inspired by the Headteacher drives the school’s effective improvement and its planning’ and that ‘the school strongly fosters students’ spiritual, moral and cultural development and the Olympic and Paralympic Values are a central theme throughout the curriculum.’ This approach was featured as a 2015 case study in Character Nation: A Demos Report with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. In February 2016 the school was identified by the Minister of State as achieving continuous improvement in GCSE performance that positions it in the top 100 non-selective state-funded secondary schools in the country.

The paper, which will take the form of a presentation, will therefore provide an overview of how sports history themed learning and a related focus on sporting values have provided a framework for:

  • the development of school ethos
  • curriculum innovation and enrichment
  • cross-phase learning partnerships
  • outstanding student learning and achievement
  • continuous school improvement

There will also be an opportunity to update on current work using links to TOCOG and Tokyo 2020 to inspire multi-disciplinary cross-phase and international learning.

Women in the Wilderness
Blynne Olivieri
University of West Georgia, USA

Key Words:
American women, society, outdoors, mountaineering, trekking, hiking, risk, safety

This paper, from an academic librarian and practitioner, will examine the social norms about American women in mountaineering, trekking, and hiking, especially focused on solo ventures and messages about safety and risk.

By many American social standards women are not supposed to be alone in the wilderness, particularly for multi-day ventures of mountaineering, trekking, or hiking. Potential environmental safety hazards and dangers posed by other humans are often used by family, friends, and messaging from society to reinforce the idea that women could be vulnerable to injury and difficult to rescue because of remote location and that they are deliberately putting themselves at risk.

This paper places historical and current accounts of American women’s experiences in mountaineering, trekking, and hiking into the social context: the social introduction of women to wilderness ventures, the experiences and expertise of women in the sports gained from partnership or going solo, and how societal attitudes are changing as the society has increased attention to women athletes since the passage of Title IX in 1972.

Gendered Experiences at the Gym
Sofia Rizzo
Lakehead University, Canada
Affiliation, Country

Key Words:
Gender relations; gender norms; comfort; gym; sport

Since the 1970s, women’s memberships in gyms have been on the rise, and co-ed gyms have become increasingly popular. However, much of the existing research on co-ed gyms suggests that traditional gender divisions – who does what and where in the gym – remain entrenched, as women still seem to report discomfort in central areas of the gym, and in relation to certain activities such as weight-lifting. My research utilizes a quantitative approach, and assesses the impact of gender, along with other relevant variables, on the experience of comfort at the gym. I distributed an online survey to the members of a local unisex gym, asking about their level of comfort across a number of different exercises and activities. I also collected data about gender, age, body image, experience, and other independent variables that might affect comfort. While most respondents reported a high level of overall

comfort at the gym, respondents had more varied levels of comfort reported in relation to specific activities/equipment. For example, much more variance was reported in traditionally gender-exclusive exercises such as weight-training, or aerobics. More gender-neutral activities such as cardio machines, like overall comfort, did not show much variance in relation to gender. While gender was the main variable of interest, other factors such as body image, age, and experience were also seen to be significant predictors of comfort. These findings add to the literature on gender and comfort in gyms, and could provide useful information in the goal to improve the social environment of the gym and increase comfort levels among the broad spectrum of members who wish to work out there.

CrossFit: My Journey to Healing from Sexual Violence
Sherrie-Lee Petrie
Gender Equity Centre (Lakehead University Student Union), Canada

Key Words:
sexual violence, lived experiences, voice, healing, rape, community, CrossFit, sport, health, fitness

 “Power”. “Strength”. I had just started at my gym, Synergee, and was working on back squats, when I looked up and saw those two words in large letters. Suddenly, with every squat that I did for the rest of the set, I found myself listing the names of men who had violated me over the course of my life. It was in that moment that I decided that they weren’t worth my effort – my strength – and that they would no longer have power over me. Later that week, I took part in my first CrossFit Workout Of the Day (WOD), and cried as people cheered me on while I finished my last few jumping-pull ups. At 14 years old, I was raped by the son of a family friend. Our dads co-ran a youth soccer league together, and I played on a team with his younger brother for several years. That summer, I gained over 25 pounds. Slowly, I stopped engaging in sport. Soccer became a trigger, and any time I put a jersey on I was reminded of how I met David. Over the next two years, I would experience several seasons of serious depression, and cope by binge eating. Eventually, I came to weigh over 270 pounds by the time I was 16 years old. After one of my last times playing soccer for my High School team, I was walking back to the bus and heard someone from the other team make a comment about me being the “fastest fat girl”. My paper is an auto-ethnographical exploration of both how health and fitness became a trigger for me following my initial experience with sexual violence, as well as how being a part of the CrossFit community has led me to taking both my power and my health back.

Big Data Analytics in Sport: Importance and Implications
Lidija Petrovic
Metropolitan University, Serbia

Key Words:
Sports organizations, Big data, Digital technologies, Business Processes

Analytics is a highly applicable and interdisciplinary field that requires a unique ability to understand data. It requires both intellectual curiosity and possibility of effective communication with the target audience. The speed and quality of advancement in digital technology has led many experts to urge for its implementation in the sports industry, see e.g. Petrović (2016a; 2016b), Petrović et al. (2015), Petrović et al. (2014). The big data analytics in sport provides a foundation for consolidating all kinds of different data ranging from match statistics, player fitness data, information about injuries, medication, and recovery, training data, match analyses, and scouting notes (Petrović & Milovanović, 2017).Innovative cloud-based software solutions enable sports organizations to improve players and teams through performance insights, player and team analytics, player fitness, planning of training, as well as scouting and team management (see e.g. SAP, 2016). Further to this, ability to use data to make timely and meaningful decisions that impact sport organizations is enormously valuable. Before Big Data can be monetized and turned into a strategic asset, it is necessary that expectations of the executives should be aligned with the application of the most suitable digital technologies to drive more revenue, create more value, and have key insights to create better fan experiences. At present, one of the most significant challenges in sport industry is the transformation on the business side as a result of Big Data (see e.g. Deloitte, 2016). The main aim of this research therefore is to show how business functions, such as finance, marketing, and sales, are seeking ways to better understand the sources of data they have access to and to improve their strategy and operations as a result. The SAP HANA platform provides a foundation for consolidating and processing data simplifying both team and business operations in real time.

A Different Point of View of Pay for Play
Kevin Brown
Indiana University, USA
Richard S. Melvin

Indiana University, USA
Antonio Williams

Indiana University, USA

Any thoughtful college sports fan’s sense of fundamental fairness should be struck by the realization that elite athletes in revenue generating sports produce a tremendous amount of money for NCAA and their member institutions, yet they cannot adequately cash in on their talents.  This is a unique situation in American society.  It involves a major commercial activity that generates literally billions of dollars in revenues, but the actors principally responsible for producing these funds, arguably, are not adequately compensated for their efforts.  Since these athletes are not adequately paid, one could argue that other interested groups are profiting from their labor, including less valuable members of their own team, athletes in non-revenue sports, college coaches, athletic directors,  the universities, the alumni, ticket purchasers, and the television networks.  This difficult situation is further exacerbated by the fact that the overwhelming majority of elite athletes in revenue generating sports of Division I Men’s Basketball and FBS Football are black males, many of whom come from poor families.  Thus, added to the exploitation of elite student athletes is the potential additional charge of racism.

   The current system of limiting the compensation of elite athletes in revenue generating sports has produced a number of antitrust legal challenges.   But, even if these lawsuits eliminated the ability of the NCAA to restrict compensation to athletes there are several significant legal hurdles to providing elite athletes with funds beyond cost of attendance scholarships.  These hurdles mean that few of any universities would pay athletes even if there were no restrictions that prevent it.

   In this article, our discussion centres on the issue of whether the failure of elite black male student athletes to receive compensation beyond cost of attendance is racist.  We reconceptualize the issue of whether the current system is racist.  Rather than view the issue of discriminatory effects from the standpoint of the fact that a majority of the elite athletes are black males, we seek to alter the discussion by viewing the issue from the perspective of the costs and benefits for the entire Black Community.  From that standpoint, the discussion about whether the current system that limits compensation for elite student athletes in revenue generating sports is racist is a discussion about the impact of this system on entire Black Community.  More importantly, however, this new point of view suggests that there are plenty of other measures that the NCAA could institute to assist the Black Community in increasing college graduation rates that would help to rebut any charge that the current system is racially discriminatory.

The Qatar World Cup: A quest for Soft Power Like No Other
James Dorsey

No soccer mega-event has been more of a covert and overt political battlefield than the 2022 Qatar World Cup. What was meant to be a way of enhancing Qatari soft power and projecting the Gulf state on the international stage, became a venue for multiple struggles ranging from the 2017 Gulf crisis that sought to undermine Qatari sovereignty and independence to covert efforts of Gulf states to tarnish each other’s reputation and struggles for migrant workers’ rights.
Along the way, the awarding fueled the most serious crisis in the history of global soccer governance and laid bare the inextricable relationship between sports and politics that international sports association refuse to recognize and govern. The multiple battles have tarnished to varying degrees the images of all those involved. They demonstrate the risks involved in employing sports, and particularly the world’s most popular game, as a reputational tool and vehicle to project soft power and image. On the other hand, in the case of Qatar, besieged by its Gulf neighbours, soccer also served to rally a nation around its ruler in a time of crisis.
Controversy surrounding Qatar’s hosting rights is, however, but the tip of the iceberg, in efforts by various Gulf states, to use sports to enhance soft power and/or polish tarnished images. In fact, the Gulf crisis that erupted with the imposition of a boycott of Qatar by a small group of Arab, African and Indian Ocean states led by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, has emerged as a case study of the pitfalls of public diplomacy and reputation management in which sports is an important tool.

Sovereignty, Recognition, and Participation at the Olympic Games
Andrea Talentino
Nazareth College, USA

Key Words:
Olympics, sovereignty, recognition, globalization, identity, nationality, refugees

Representation at the Olympic Games is generally understood on the basis of national sovereignty.  Each country has a National Olympic Committee (NOC), which is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and thereby has the right to send athletes to compete.  But there are, historically, two exceptions to this seemingly simple rule—NOCs that represent non-sovereign states or regions, and individual competitors who do not come from a state with a recognized NOC.  The former was particularly relevant historically, as a number of national identities were admitted to the Games long before their respective states had been recognized, such as Bohemia in the early 20th century and some British colonial holdings prior to decolonization.  The latter has been particularly relevant in recent decades, as internal conflicts have led to state reconfiguration and refugee populations that may not correspond to traditional NOCs but have sought inclusion in the Games regardless.   These trends raise interesting questions about how international recognition is understood and what role, if any, IOC recognition might play in benefitting or obstructing regions and individuals who want their nationality to be recognized at that level.  It also engages the current debate about globalization’s impact on national and individual identities and the role of states in the international system.  Is the IOC’s commitment to recognize refugee athletes in 2016 indicative of the erosion of traditional national ties as a sine qua non for a variety of international interactions, or is it an aberration developed to address specific internal conflicts and their impact on populations?  This paper will analyze the role of recognition in the IOC and its impact internationally on both individuals and states, as well as the divide between state-based and individual-based standards of participation.