Sport mega-events, the 'non-West' and the ethics of event hosting

Suzanne Dowse, Thomas Fletcher
2018 Sport in Society  
Events and sports events are perceived as having the potential to contribute to a number of benefits for the host country and its communities. However, mega sports events in particular are also known for their darker side. These consequences flow from the scale and complexity of the event, and the logistics of delivering what is effectively a national mega-project. The socio-political and economic environment of the host is an important consideration for both prospective hosts and event owners
more » ... hen allocating hosting rights. It is therefore, unsurprising that concerns have been raised over the relatively recent relocation of events to developing countries which, by their nature, frequently lack the economic, political and social stability of the traditional industrialized host. Developing nations are less affluent and arguably less prepared to deliver large scale sports events than developed nations. Within developing contexts the cost of hosting and risk of failure is likely to be far higher than for events held in the developed world. Therefore, this paper asks, 'are governing bodies, when equipped with this knowledge, ethically obliged to withhold hosting rights from developing countries?' The paper argues that denying sovereign States the right to make their own decisions would appear to compound the disadvantaged status of countries that mega-event hosting is perceived to address. It would also reinforce the positioning of countries as subordinate and subject to a form of neo-colonial control. Indeed, despite laudable claims, the primary interest of the event owners is the delivery of an event, meaning that considerations of individual national contexts are largely irrelevant to any award. The paper contends that event hostsparticularly those in the developing world -are potentially vulnerable to exploitation by the event owner.
doi:10.1080/17430437.2018.1401359 fatcat:a52c4i46jrcw5aqzozmp33amcm