Politics, governance and policy

Our research is in the areas of the politics of sport, sport politics and governance, regulation and politics, and the analysis of policy making in sport, exercise and health.

With local, national and global focus, our research strengths lie in engagement with a wide spectrum of societal actors, including institutional stakeholders and non-institutionalised communities in different parts of the world.

We have a strong interest in nationalism and national identities, and sport in divided societies, as well as expertise in the European Union and East Asia.

Our research also analyses socio-political and regulatory processes and the contexts in which sport and exercise take place, to inform better (public) policies and to understand social dynamics around sport. We evaluate public policy outcomes, sport events, engagement of minorities or disadvantaged groups, political structures of sport and the development of better national and global sports governance.

Our academic staff are happy to discuss research collaboration, as well as research studentships and self-funded PhDs. To find out more about academics working in this research area, please click on the 'People' tab below.


Our current research specialisms include:

  • Critically investigate sport policy, its evolution and change
  • Evaluation of forms and effectiveness of sports governance.

Grant funding

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) ‘Understanding the Role of Alcohol Consumption in Football Cultures’. £401,126.
  • International Olympic Committee Advanced Research Grants. Project ‘Collaborations between National Olympic Committees and public authorities’. US$ 15,000.
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Brexit Priority Grants. Project ‘28+ Perspectives on Brexit: A guide to the multi-stakeholder negotiations’. £298,000.

PhD opportunities

If you are interested in undertaking a self-funded PhD study, or are seeking to develop and support a funded research project in the following areas, please contact our Postgraduate Research team:

  • Analysis of EU sport policy implementation, especially Erasmus+ projects
  • The European Model of Sport
  • Governance of international sport federations
  • Sport policy and governance in developing countries
  • Relations between National Olympic Committees or other sport organisations and national governments.

Real-world impact

Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:

  • Securing recognition of supporters' role in football governance – Dr Borja García has advised Supporters Direct Europe, working on their submissions to UEFA, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to lobby (successfully) in favour of the formal recognition of the role of supporters in football governance.
  • Sport for a better world – Professor Richard Giulianotti has investigated the Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) Sector in five developing countries: Kosovo, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Zambia.


If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Our research staff and their areas of research interest are listed below:

  • Professor Alan Bairner – The politics of sport with specific reference to national identity and gender.
  • Professor Richard Giulianotti – Sport and globalisation, social inclusion (particularly the ‘sport for development and peace’ sector), youth, sport mega-events, crime and deviance, sport and policing/security, migration, sport policy, and social theory.
  • Dr Borja García – European Union sport policy and the governance of global sport.
  • Dr Joe Piggin – Sport and physical activity policy.
  • Dr Gareth Wiltshire – The social determinants of physical activity and health.
  • Dr Serhat Yilmaz – Sports agents and the protection of young athletes in sport.

Current PhD projects

Our doctoral researchers (PhDs) include:

  • Amer Saad Alajmi – Nation branding through sporting events: exploring the image impact of hosting non-mega sport events on the destination image.
  • Ximing Fan – Comparison of physical activity policies in the UK and China.
  • Peizi Han – Sport migration, naturalization and national identity: The case of naturalization in China.
  • Boyang He – The management and development of cricket in China.
  • Eunsu (Su) Lee – A comparison of elite sport system and policies in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea: The sport of taekwondo.
  • Yanlin Li – Sport nationalism in China and the women volleyball 'Legend' in the 1980s and 2010s: Similar cases, different discourses under separate situations.
  • Nadyne Venturin Trindade – The critical issue of gender and sport in a changing world: Challenging the rule book.
  • Bingjie Wang – Investigating the impact of CSR on CSL value.
  • Anupa Wilawa Mudiyanselage – The factors which are hindering the targets of the strategic goals in the national sport policy framework in Sri Lanka.
  • Kaixi Zhao – National identity in Chinese sports: Gender and globalization.

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

UNESCO Chair in Sport, Physical Activity and Education for Development

We are working to advance knowledge, policy and practice, in how sport, physical activity and education are utilized for the physical, personal and social development of young people across the world. Find out more about the research taking place and how you can collaborate with us.


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