School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


women footballers

Culture and Citizenship:

Research in this area addresses how access to sport and exercise and its impacts have an inevitably social foundation connected with the reflection and formation of identities, social capital and consequent social inclusion or exclusion. This is in addition to sport and exercise having an impact on local, national and international development.

Recent projects:

The culture of health, pain and injury in sports participation

Dr Dominic Malcolm and Emma Pullen

Project Description

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, this project explored the social impact of sports injuries and the sources of healthcare treatment accessible to the exercising public. The research illustrated that sport-related injury can have a significant impact upon on daily living (work absenteeism, exercise withdrawal), social relationships, identity and sense of self. Negative impacts are compounded by frustrations at obtaining ‘appropriate’ healthcare treatment. As a consequence of the ‘disinterest’ state healthcare providers and the high costs of alternative private healthcare providers, injured exercisers reported a heavy reliance on self-treatment and peer advice. Due to uncertainties over the appropriate time to return to exercise and/or sports participation, frequently reported outcomes included re-injury, compensatory injury and symptom exacerbation. This work therefore questions the efficacy of physical activity health promotion policies which fail acknowledge the incidence of injury inherent to the structure of sport and exercise.


A Sociology of Policing and Police-Community Relations at the London 2012 Olympics

Professor Richard Giulianotti

Project Description

Funded by the ESRC (award number ES/I/0005424/1) this project provided the first extended study of policing and police-community relations before, during, and after a sport mega-event, specifically the London 2012 Olympics.  The research focused on the London Borough of Newham, the main centre of the London Games, and involved long-term fieldwork and interviews with different police units and diverse members of the local community.  Thus far, the project has generated research findings and publications on Olympic-related crime, the different strategies and practices of the police throughout the Games period, the relationships between police and other services in delivering Olympic-related security, the social impacts of the Olympics in the local area, and the responses of local people to hosting this mega-event.    


Giulianotti, R., G. Armstrong, G. Hales and R. Hobbs, (2015)  ‘Global Sport Mega-Events and the Politics of Mobility: The Case of the London 2012 Olympics’, British Journal of Sociology, 66(1): 118-140..

Giulianotti, R., G. Armstrong, G. Hales, R. Hobbs, (2015) ‘Sport Mega-Events and Public Opposition: A Sociological Study of the London 2012 Olympics’, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 39(2): 99-119.

Armstrong, G., R. Giulianotti & R. Hobbs (in press) Policing the Olympics: London 2012, London: Routledge.  

Levels of representation and the experiences of minorities and women in leadership and coaching in professional football Europe

Dr Steven Bradbury

Project description

This project was funded by the Football Against Racism (FARE) in Europe Network (2012-14). The research included a large scale quantitative evaluation of the levels of representation of minorities and women in senior governance, administration and coaching positions at UEFA, national football federations, national league associations and elite level professional clubs in Europe. It also included conducting extensive semi-structured interviews with forty elite level minority coaches in England, France and the Netherlands to identify the factors which have constrained their career progression across the transition from playing to coaching in the professional game. In doing so, the research has drawn attention to the relationship between minority coach under-representation, institutional discrimination, and the underlying normative power of hegemonic whiteness in the senior organisational tiers of the sport. The findings from the research have received high profile media coverage and have been presented directly to UEFA and national football stakeholders across Europe as well as to the sports minister and parliamentary football committee in the UK.


Dr Jacco van Sterkenburg (Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands)

Professor Patrick Mignon (INSEP, France)


Bradbury, S., Van Sterkenburg, J., Mignon, P. (2014) ‘Cracking the glass ceiling? Levels of representation of minorities and women in leadership and coaching in European football and the experiences of minority coaches in England, France and the Netherlands’. Loughborough University and the FARE Network (summary report available)

Bradbury, S. (2014) ‘Ethnic minorities and coaching in elite level football in England: A call to action’ Sports People's Think Tank, FARE Network and Loughborough University (summary report available)

Bradbury, S. (2014) ‘Cracking the glass ceiling? Levels of representation of minorities in leadership and coaching and experiences of minority coaches’ UEFA Seminar on Institutional Discrimination. Amsterdam. Netherlands. December 2014

Bradbury, S. (2014). ‘Cracking the glass ceiling? Representation in coaching and management in European football’ UEFA Respecting Diversity conference. Rome. Italy. September 2014

Bradbury, S., Van Sterkenburg, J., Mignon, P. (2015) ‘Cracking the glass ceiling? Racial stereotypification and the experiences of elite level ethnic minority coaches in football in Europe’ International Sociology of Sport Association conference, Paris, France. June 2015

Bradbury, S., Van Sterkenburg, J., Mignon, P. (2015) ‘Cracking the glass ceiling? The under-representation of minority coaches in professional football in England, France and the Netherlands’ International Review of the Sociology of Sport (forthcoming 2015)

Sport and Citizenship mini-Centre for Doctoral Training

Borja García and Richard Giulianotti (Leaders)

Steven Bradbury, Rachel Sandford, Lyne Nyhagen, Jamie Cleland, James Esson, Emily Keightley, Sarah Mills 

Project Description

This project takes the form of a mini-CDT and is funded by a Loughborough Doctoral College studentship. The CDT aims to bring together two different strands of research in the University in order to explore the role in which sport is used by individuals to articulate a sense of active civic citizenship. This project is jointly contributed to by SSEHS and the School of Social, Political and Geographical Sciences. It will focus on producing research in five key topics, each one through a PhD thesis: Sport, race and ethnicity; gender and sexuality in sport; fans, citizenship and football governance; sport and development; and young people and active physical citizenship. 


Mini-CDT web pages to be set up.

Expected outputs: Thesis and publications in the 5 areas identified above.

Sport for a Better World?

Professor Richard Giulianotti, Dr David Howe, Dr Holly Collison & Dr Simon Darnell (University of Toronto).

Project Description

Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC: ES/L002191/1), this project is a social scientific investigation of the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) sector. The current project is investigating the SDP sector in five international locations; Jamaica, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sri Lanka and Zambia. The international development sector features global, national and local stakeholders which use sport as a tool of social intervention to promote non-sport goals such as, reconciliation and peacebuilding, human rights, social justice and empowering disabled populations. Through these multiple layers of advocacy and activity, the SDP movement has developed and grown rapidly, leaving significant gaps in our understanding of how the sector is structured socially and organizationally and importantly how SDP programmes are planned, implemented and experienced. To date the research has illustrated the complex nature of transnational partnerships, the experiences of local populations as recipients of SDP programs, the challenges of engaging with minority or marginal populations, the professionalization of the SDP sector, and the on-going issues relating to funding, local capacity and sustainability. Through extensive fieldwork, participant observation, formal interviewing and in-the-field participation, the project has enabled a unique comparative analysis across the five locations. Close ties have been established with the Commonwealth Secretariat and a wide range of other national and international NGOs and other stakeholders.

Outputs (to date)


  • Collison, H, Giulianotti, R., Howe, P. D, & Darnell, S. (2016). The methodological dance: critical reflections on conducting a cross-cultural comparative research project on ‘Sport for Development and Peace’. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, Vol. 8, No. 5, 413-423.
  • • Giulianotti, R., Collison, H., Darnell, S., Howe, P.D (2016). Contested States and the Politics of Sport: The Case of Kosovo – Division, Development and Recognition. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics,
  • Collison, H., Darnell, S., Giulianotti, R., Howe, P.D (2017). Sport for Social Change and Development: Sustaining Transnational Partnerships and Adapting International Curriculums to Local Contexts in Rwanda. The International Journal of the History of Sport (accepted for publication)

Further information is available here