ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Political Actions and Sports Policy

Banning sportspersons of certain nationalities from playing in India incentivises political opportunism.

Sports and politics do not have mutually exclusive spheres of operation and sport has often been used as a medium to achieve foreign policy objectives. For instance, “Ping-Pong diplomacy” represented a massive step in the normalisation of the United States (US)-China relations and it remains one of sports diplomacy’s greatest success stories.1 Political ideologies shape a nation’s policy initiatives and decisively influence a nation’s sporting landscape. The boycott by the US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) teams of the Moscow Olympics (1980) and Los Angeles Olympics (1984), respectively underlined the idea that foreign policy imperatives conclusively determine the direction of a nation’s sporting policy.

In De Frantz vs United States Olympic Committee,2 the United States District Court (District of Columbia) dismissed a motion praying for an injunction against the United States Olympic Committee’s decision to not field an Olympic contingent. It held that an Olympic boycott did not give rise to any actionable claim for an infringement of the athletes’ constitutional rights and adjudged that non-sports considerations were a permissible basis for the boycott.

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