Sport has been a major part of English culture and heritage for many years. Many people are passionate about a particular sport or a group of sport; they may be involved in the sport of sport themselves or maybe they just like to see it happen. The EBU tried to introduce a statutory test on non-sport sporting activities in 2021, however this was later dropped. In 2021, the English Bridge Union proposed a decision to challenge a decision by Sport England not to recognise the game as a sport. They lost their High Court case.
Some sports are more popular than others in the UK, with football being the most popular and also golf and rugby. The idea behind introducing a sports examination is that there is some level of sporting activity that requires minimal physical exertion but there are other sports where the level of physical exertion is considerable. So why does the English decide to deny sporting activities the status they deserve? There are several factors.
Firstly, England restrict their participation in international sports competitions such as the Olympics and build their national profile through participation in sporting events, as demonstrated by the presence of numerous Olympic gold medals. Other countries who have a significant number of athletes who regularly compete in the Olympic sports include Russia and Jamaica. If an English athlete were to compete against a Jamaican athlete in any Olympic event, it would almost guarantee an unfair advantage, as Jamaica is already very good at many of the sports disciplines. Competitors in the Jamaican and Russian Olympic games regularly wear replica uniforms and are permitted to use performance enhancing drugs. There is no suggestion that athletes in any other country would be subject to the same treatments or the same testing procedures, but that is another argument.
Sport England also argues that participation in tournaments and other competitive sporting activities promotes social interaction and social learning. It therefore claims that Sport England benefits from the educational benefits of being a member of the ECA and through this; children are encouraged to take part in sport and learn about different sports and other aspects of life. This sounds reasonable on its face but how many different children do they have to teach? Furthermore, if many of these children then move on to become professional athletes themselves, Sport England still loses out, as they do not have many athletes from Jamaica and other Caribbean nations who can take their place.
Sport England also claims that sport encourages the physical activities that promote good health. This could be true in some circumstances but again, how many different people do you have to teach, coach and exercise with? Furthermore, the claim is that because of the physical activities that are required of participants in many different sports; participants in these sports are less likely to develop poor posture, osteoporosis or back pain. These new questions do beg for another look. After all, the proponents of Sport England claim that participation in sports will encourage people to exercise more, which in turn leads to increased levels of healthiness and improved longevity. It is hard to see how this can be proved by research.
There are numerous theories which support the notion that participation in sport can promote good health and there is no doubt that team sports such as cricket, basketball and football will help build stronger teams and individuals who are better prepared to take on any physical challenge that may come their way in life. However, there has been little research to support the claim that participation in sport will lead to increased longevity. In addition to this, the extensive research that has been done on team sport in recent years has shown that the athletes who participate in such sport do not suffer from any more injuries than those who are not in a team sport. In fact, team sports have been found to be extremely beneficial to the participants and can improve the overall quality of life.