University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘Sport for Yes’? The Precarious Positioning of Scottish Athletes in the Scottish Independence Referendum Campaign.

Whigham, Stuart (2015) ‘Sport for Yes’? The Precarious Positioning of Scottish Athletes in the Scottish Independence Referendum Campaign. In: BSA Sport Study Group Day Conference, 15th May 2015, British Library, London. (Unpublished)

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This paper will critically consider the implications for Scottish athletes who have publicly stated their personal opinion on the Scottish independence referendum. Developments such as the inclusion of sport within the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Scottish independence, the establishment of the ‘Working Group on Scottish Sport’ and the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group demonstrate the harnessing of sporting issues as an additional, if somewhat peripheral, debate point in the referendum campaigns (Lafferty, 2014; Scottish Government, 2013; Working Group on Scottish Sport, 2013, 2014). The latter of these developments, the establishment of the ‘Sport for Yes’ campaign group, is of particular interest, offering evidence of the explicit political mobilisation of past and present athletes in support of the ‘Yes Scotland’ pro-independence campaign. Whilst the pro-union ‘Better Together’ campaign does not possess a comparable group to the ‘Sport for Yes’ example, examples of athletes discussing the potential negative impact of Scottish independence on the funding and organisation of Scottish sport have been capitalised upon by pro-union campaigners, as exemplified in the comments of Sir Chris Hoy (BBC, 2013; Daily Record, 2013a). Given the negative reaction to Hoy’s comments from certain pro-independence campaigners (Daily Record, 2013b; Swanson, 2013), other Scottish athletes have understandably attempted to avoid controversy by refusing to align with either side of the referendum debate. This paper will therefore consider the potential pitfalls for athletes who publicly announce their political positions, whilst also scrutinising the extent to which such pronouncements are of political significance, drawing upon past academic analyses of the interrelationship between sport and politics (e.g. Coghlan, 1990; Houlihan, 1994; Jeffreys, 2012; Macfarlane, 1986; Whannel, 2008).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Scottish athletes, Scottish Independence, Referendum campaign, political narratives, sporting policies, sporting personalities, 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN1187 Scotland
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Stuart Whigham
Date Deposited: 21 May 2015 12:53
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:06

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