School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Sport Policy and Management Research Group

This multi-disciplinary group conducts research across the public, not-for-profit and commercial sectors. The group is concerned not only with issues of strategy development and practical service delivery, but also with the interaction between the three sectors and the interaction of each sector with its operating environment.

The work of the group is organised under three inter-related themes:

1. Comparative and Transnational Sport Policy

Recent research includes: an examination of the relationship between sport policy and inter-cultural dialogue in the 25 EU member states; sport and Muslim communities; comparative analyses of elite sport development policies; an analysis of community sport policies in sixteen countries ; the constitutionalisation of EU sport policy; legal and political assessment of the new EU sports policy under the Lisbon Treaty, comparative analyses of the Europeanisation and transformation of national football governance structures in 10 european countries; and good governance and international federations.

2. Management and Policy Evaluation in Sport

Recent research includes: statistical analyses designed to examine the connection between lifestyle and participation; the evaluation of volunteer programmes; analyses of customer behaviour and the efforts of sports clubs to maintain customer loyalty; investigations of corporate involvement in sport and health promotion, the evaluation of national anti-doping education programmes; and evaluation of recent British sport policy.

3. Olympic Studies and Research

Recent research includes: meta evaluation and regional evaluation of the legacy of Olympic Games; the role of the International Olympic Committee in anti-doping efforts; the representation of women on National Olympic Committees; the image impact of the Olympics on hosting places; and electoral strategies for achieving gender equity in the Boards of NOCs and International Federations.

Professor Barrie Houlihan (Group Leader)
Dr Guillaume Bodet
Dr Paul Downward
Dr Borja Garcia
Professor Ian Henry
Dr Joe Piggin

Staff awards and recognition

Dr Mahfoud Amara has undertaken research for a range national of international bodies including, British Academy, European Commission, UNESCO. He was a member of an external assessment panel of BBC's regional sports coverage in 2007. He has been invited as speaker to a number of national and international conferences and seminars for his research on sport in the Middle East and North African region and on sport and multiculturalism debates in Europe. In 2011 he joined the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Sport History (for Asia region). He recently published a new book on Sport Politics and Society in the Arab World, Palgrave and Macmillan.

Dr Guillaume Bodet has undertaken research for a range of national and international governing bodies including the Amateur Swimming Association and the UEFA. He has been serving as an editorial board member for European Sport Management Quarterly since 2011 and Sport Marketing Quarterly since 2013. He has been consulted by various media as an expert in sport marketing and consumer behaviour in sports.

Dr Paul Downward has undertakenconsultancy projects for a variety of UK sport bodies, including UK Sport and Sport England, as well as various governing bodies. He is a founding editorial board member of the Journal of Sports Economics, as well as serving on the editorial boards of European Sport Management Quarterly, Sport Management Review and the Journal of Sport and Tourism. He has given a number of number of keynote presentations; notably on the social –scientific analysis of health and life-style at the ECSS annual conference in Belgrade, at workshops organised before the FIFA World cup in Germany, and numerous international workshops on the economic approach to sports participation in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. Dr Downward also serves on UK Sport’s Research Advisory Group, and UEFA’s Research Grants Committee.

Dr Borja García was distinguished with the ‘European Citizen of Honour Award’ for 2010 in the ‘academics’ category by the think-tank Sport et Citoyenneté (with support of the European Commission). The award recognises ‘the person who best demonstrated through his academic work that sport is a factor of reinforcing European citizenship’. Borja García was invited by the European Commission as an independent expert to give evidence, participate and chair a session of the European Sport Forum 2010, the annual top-level consultation forum between the European Commission and the sporting movement. Dr García was part of a research team authoring a study commissioned by the European Parliament analysing the possibilities of European sport policy under the new Lisbon Treaty. He has advised the European Commission Sports Unit, members of the European Parliament, the English FA and UEFA on the development of European Union sport policy. Borja García is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Sport and the European Union (Sport&EU,

Professor Ian Henry has conducted research for a range of international and national bodies including the IOC, European Union, Council of Europe, UNESCO, UK Sport, Sport England, DCMS and Treasury. He is a member of the IOC Postgraduate Research Panel, an International Advisory Board Member of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s Jigoro Kano Memorial International Sports Institute, and a member of the European Science Foundation’s Peer Review College, and has reviewed research bids and proposals for a number of European national research councils and government departments. He has been the managing editor of ESMQ and he remains a member of the editorial board of this and two other leading sports policy and humanities journals.

Professor Barrie Houlihan is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences, a member of the Sports-related Studies sub-panel for the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment of research quality and is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College. Barrie Houlihan has undertaken consultancy projects for various UK government departments, UK Sport, Sport England, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the World Anti-Doping Agency and the European Union. He has chaired or been a member of various working groups in the sports councils including the UK Anti-Doping Social Research Committee. He has been an advisor on projects organised by Demos, the Centre for Social Justice and the European Non-Governmental Sport Organisation and he is the editor in chief of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics.

  • Bodet, G. (2012), Loyalty in Sports Participation Services: An examination of the mediating role of psychological commitment, Journal of Sport Management, 26, 30-42.
  • Bodet, G. and Lacassagne, M.F. (2012), International Place Branding through Sporting Events: a British perspective of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, European Sport Management Quarterly, 12(4), 357-374.
  • García, B and Meier, HE (2012) Abandoning hopes for veto power: institutional options for sport governing bodies in the European UnionInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, iFirst, pp.1-23.
  • García, B and Meier, HE (2012) Limits of Interest Empowerment in the European Union: The Case Of FootballJournal of European Integration, iFirst, pp.1-20
  • Garcia, B. (2012) ‘Engaging with the EU in order to minimise its impact: sport and the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon’, Journal of European Public Policy, vol. 19. (with S. Weatherill).
  • Henry, I & Ko, L (2012) International Handbook of Sport Policy, London: Routledge
  • Chatziefstathiou, D & Henry, I (2012) Discourses of Olympism: From the Sorbonne 1894 to London 2012, London: Palgrave / Macmillan.
  • Houlihan, B. and Lindsey, I. (2012) Sport Policy in Britain, New York: Routledge.
  • Piggin, J (2012) Turning health research into health promotion: A study of causality and 'critical insights' in a United Kingdom health campaign. Health Policy, 107, 296– 303.
  • Bodet, G. and Bernache-Assollant, I. (2011), Consumer loyalty in sport spectatorship services: The relationships with consumer satisfaction and team identification,Psychology and Marketing, 28(8), 781-802. DOI: 10.1002/mar.20412
  • Bouchet, P., Bodet, G., Bernache-Assollant, I. and Kada, F. (2011), “Segmenting sport spectators: Construction and preliminary validation of the Sporting Event Experience Search (SEES) scale”, Sport Management Review, 14, 42-53.
  • Downward, P. and Rasciute, S. Does Sport Make You Happy? (2011) An Analysis of the Well-being Derived from Sports Participation, International Review of Applied Economics.
  • García, B. (2011) The transformation of European football: Towards the Europeanisation of the national game, (with A. Niemann and W. Grant eds.), Manchester: Manchester University Press.
  • Houlihan, B. (2011) Public policy for Sport for All, (with M Nicholson and R Hoye eds), London: Routledge.
  • Piggin, J. & Lee, J. (2011) ‘Don’t mention obesity: Contradictions and tension in the UK Change4Life health promotion campaign. Journal of Health Psychology. April, 2011.
  • Amara, M & Henry, I (2010) “Sport, Muslim Identities and Cultures in the UK, an Emerging Policy Issue: Case Studies of Leicester and Birmingham” European Sport Management Quarterly, vol. 10, no.4 pp. 419-444.
  • Bodet, G. and Chanavat, N. (2010), “Building global football brand equity: Lessons from the Chinese market”, Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, 22(1), 55-66.
  • Downward, P. Nishio, T. and Lim, C. (2010) Olympics Host City Selection and its impact on Stock markets, Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, Vol *, No 1, pp35-50.
  • Downward, P.M. and Rasciute, S. (2010) Health or Happiness? What is the Impact of Physical Activity on the Individual, Kyklos, Vol. 63, No. 2, 256–270.
  • Downward, P.M. and Rasciute, S. (2010) The Relative Demands for Sports and Leisure in England, European Sports Management Quarterly, Vol 10, No 2, pp189-214.
  • Garcia, B.. (2010) The Lisbon Treaty and EU Sports Policy, Brussels: European Parliament, PE 438.607 (with R. Parrish, S. Miettinen and R. Siekmann).
  • Ferrand, C., Henry, I.P. and Ferrand, A. (2010) ''Gendered Identities in Self-Descriptions of Electoral Candidates in a French National Sport Federation'', European Sport Management Quarterly, 10(5), pp 531-552.
  • Aquilina, D & Henry, I (2010) “Elite Athletes and University Education in Europe: a review of policy and practice in higher education in the European Union Member States”, International Journal of Sport Policy. Vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 25-47.
  • Houlihan, B. (2010) Sport and Policy (with Russell Hoye and Matthew Nicholson) Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Houlihan, B. (2010) Social capital and sport governance, (with M Groeneveld and F Ohl eds.), Routledge: London.
  • Piggin, J. (2010). Resistance is not futile: Effects of challenging public sport and recreation policy. International Journal of Sport Policy. 2 (1), 85-98.
  • Downward, P.M. Dejonghe, T. and Dawson, A. (2009) Sports Economics: Theory, Evidence and Policy, Elsevier: London.
  • Downward, P.M., Lumsdon, L and Weston, R. (2009) Visitor Expenditure: The Case of Cycle Recreation and Tourism, Journal of Sport and Tourism, Volume 14, No 1, pp25-42.
  • García, B. (2009) ‘Sport governance after the white paper: The demise of the European model?’, International Journal of Sport Policy, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 267-284.
  • Chin, Y-W., Henry, I. and Hong, F., (2009) ''Gender, Interculturalism and Discourses on Women's Leadership in the Olympic Movement'', International Journal of the History of Sport, 26, 2009, 442. 
  • Piggin, J., Jackson, S. & Lewis, M. (2009). Telling the Truth in Public Policy: An Analysis of New Zealand Sport Policy Discourse, Sociology of Sport Journal. 26, 3 462-482.
  • Houlihan, B. (2008) Comparative elite sport development: systems, structures and public policy (edited volume with M Green) Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.
  • Downward, P.M. (2007) Exploring the Economic Choice to Participate in Sport: Results from the 2002 General Household Survey, The International Review of Applied Economics, Vol 21, No 5, pp633-653.
  • Downward, P.M. and Jones, M. (2007) Exploring Crowd-Size effects upon Referee Decisions: Analysis of the F.A. Cup, Journal of Sports Sciences, Vol 25, No 14, pp1541-1545.
  • Downward, P.M. and Riordan, J. (2007) Social Interactions and the Demand for Sport: An Economic Analysis, Contemporary Economic Policy, Vol 25, No 4, pp518-537.
  • Houlihan, B. (2007) Sport policy: A comparative analysis of stability and change (with NA Bergsgard, P Mangset, SI Nødland & H Rommetvedt), Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. 
  • Downward, P.M. and Dawson, A., (2000), The Economics of Professional Team Sports, Routledge:London.

Members of the group have also edited and authored a number of books

  • Bouchet, P., Hillairet, D. and Bodet, G. (2013), Sport Brands, Abingdon Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon, UK.
  • Robinson, L., Chelladurai, P., Bodet, G. and Downward, P. (2012), Routledge Handbook of Sport Management, Routledge International Handbooks: Abingdon, Oxon, UK.
  • Mahfoud Amara (2012), Sport, Politics and Society in the Arab World, Palgrave Macmillan, Series: Global Culture and Sport Series, Hardback, ISBN: 978-0-230-30792-6, ISBN10: 0-230-30792-2.
  • Houlihan, B. (2011) Handbook of Sports Development (with Mick Green eds.) London: Routledge.
  • Houlihan, B. (2008) Sport and Society: A student introduction (edited volume, 2nd edition) London: Sage.