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The Main Priorities of the Ministry of Sports and Public Recreation Including the Implementation of Plans and Public Recreation

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Sports development began with changes in English society at large, argue Dunning, Malcolm & Waddington (2004). Two main waves transformed pastimes into sports, the first by members of the aristocracy and gentry who developed sports clubs, and the second by members of the bourgeoisie or the industrial middle classes who formed sports associations and unions. Thus, the first eighteenth-century wave changed the main pastimes of boxing, cricket, foxhunting and horseracing into modern sports; and the next nineteenth-century wave modernised soccer, rugby, hockey, tennis, athletics and water sports such as rowing and swimming (Dunning 1999). There has been an increased interest in sports development over the last 30 years across the United Kingdom, with the responsibility for policy delivery devolving to the four home countries.

Thus, Sports England, Sports Scotland, the Sports Council for Wales, and Sports Northern Ireland have separate roles within their individual countries; making it difficult to refer to a sports policy for the entire United Kingdom. Further, despite important commonalities in policy in the four countries, the differences have increased since devolution making it necessary for each country to be considered as a separate policy domain. Hence, the features specific to England would not reflect sports policy in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland (Houlihan & Green 2011). Contemporary sports development began in the 1960s when Conservative and Labour governments started taking an interest in the running of sports, as an aspect of the maturing welfare state. The development of sports evolved through the history of the Sports Council and its successor organizations, and was supported by a “funding and policy network involving central government, local government, quangos, sports governing bodies and clubs” (Houlihan & Green 2011, p. The political and ideological characteristics of sports development in contemporary British sports are evident in the government’s purposes and objectives in developing the sports system.

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