U.S. heads sports political power index

Photo: Shawn Carpenter/Flickr

Photo: Shawn Carpenter/Flickr


By Ditte Toft
North America and Europe dominate the international sports federations, shows new study conducted by the Danish NOC.

According to a study, carried out by the Danish National Olympic Committee (DIF), the U.S. is the superpower in sports politics. In general, western countries are the most dominant in the international sports political arena. These are the main conclusions drawn from the ’The Formal Sports Political Power Index 2013-2015’ measuring which nations have the most sports political dominance.

The sports political power index was first elaborated in 2013 following a wish from the DIF to find its own placement in the sports political hierarchy and to determine their strategy to heighten their own influence in international sports politics.

Based on data from 1673 positions across 120 international federations, the power index places a country in relation to other countries depending on the number of official positions the country holds in European and international sports organisations, both the federations, the IOC, the EOC and ANOC.

The top five power holders in sport are, according to the study, the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Italy amd Germany. Ten of the countries in the index’s top twenty are European. Other western countries like Canada and Australia also have top placements.

In the fall of 2015, Play the Game released the report ’Sports Governance Observer 2015’, benchmarking the state of good governance in international sports organisations.

The report shows that many federations struggle to uphold basic structures that can help ensure good governance. The dominance of the western countries in the Sports Political Power Index indicates that whether an organisation is prone to corruption and mismanagement is perhaps not as dependent on what traditions the dominant countries’ have for e.g. democracy as on inherent problematic organisational structures and cultures.


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