The Lack of Age Representation in the Governance of Rugby Union in England

Adam J. White, Stefan Robinson, Eric Anderson, Rachael Bullingham, Allyson Pollock, Ryan Scoats

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Abstract

Diversity and representation in sport governing bodies has become an issue for both public discussion and academic debate in recent times. Previous work has primarily centered on gender inequalities within the forever changing masculine terrain of sport. However, no work has yet examined the representation and participation of young people in the decision-making structures of sporting bodies. This paper holds up England’s Rugby Union for organizational analysis, using the notion of homologous reproduction as a heuristic framework. In doing so, it explores the reproduction of this governing body for the systematic exclusion of young people in decision-making processes over the last few decades. This framework is then twined with Article 11 of the United Nation’s Convention for the Rights of the Child, to make the case that the RFU desires homologous reproduction in order to avoid dealing with what youth are currently concerned with –head injuries. Given such a high proportion of rugby’s participants being under twenty-five years of age, we conclude the lack of young people within the decision-making process represents a form of willful discrimination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-310
Number of pages11
JournalSociology of Sport Journal
Volume36
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Accepted author manuscript version reprinted, by permission, from Sociology of Sport Journal, (2019), https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2018-0149. © Human Kinetics, Inc.

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