1st Edition

Understanding International Sport Organisations Principles, power and possibilities

By Lincoln Allison, Alan Tomlinson Copyright 2017
    256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The governance of international sport is dominated by the SINGOs (sporting international non-governmental organisations). The IOC, FIFA, IAAF and the FIA wield global influence, but how exactly do such complex organisations operate? This important book examines the rise of the SINGOs, their structures, organisational behaviour and their power in the context of modern sport and international politics.

    Written by two world-leading experts, the book sheds new light on the relationship between these SINGOs and the sports which they govern. It provides a close critical analysis of the policies and practices of the most important international sport organisations, from their historical origins to the present day. Using case studies of key events such as the Olympics and the recent FIFA scandals, it examines the central question of how best to understand the significance of these organisations today.

    Combining historical insight with original research, Understanding International Sport Organisations: Principles, Power and Possibilities is essential reading for anyone with an interest in the politics of sport, the sociology of sport, sport administration, sport business or sport management.

    Introduction: SINGOs: From System to Crisis

    1. The Origins and Nature of Modern Sport

    2. The Consequent Characteristics of International Sport

    3. Alternative Sources of Sporting Practice

    4. Founding Global Institutions: The Origins and Development of the IOC and FIFA, 1894-1938

    5. How Mercurius was Finally Unbound: SINGOs and Twentieth-Century History

    6. Conceptualising INGOs and SINGOs

    7. The Hegemonic SINGO and the Shaping of Global Sport: The IOC and its Olympic Behemoth

    8. Mega-SINGO in Crisis: FIFA’s Collapse of Confidence and Credibility

    9. A Pattern of SINGOs?

    10. Conclusion: SINGOs: Inevitable But Inevitably Problematic?


    Lincoln Allison is Emeritus Reader in Politics at the University of Warwick, UK. He is the author or editor of numerous books on sport, politics and travel running into over forty editions, and was awarded a D.Litt. (Warwick) for his contribution to the development of the politics of sport. Since retiring from full-time academic work in 2004 he has worked mainly as a freelance writer and broadcaster. 

    Alan Tomlinson is Professor of Leisure Studies in the School of Humanities, College of Arts and Humanities, at the University of Brighton, UK. He has authored or edited over thirty volumes on sport, leisure and popular culture, and published more than one hundred book chapters and articles. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and a full member of the Sport Journalists’ Association.

    ‘In Understanding International Sport Organisations: Principles, power and possibilities, Lincoln Allison and Alan Tomlinson offer a critical, nuanced, evidence-driven assessment of sporting international non-governmental organisations (or, SINGOs). This bold interrogation of international sport governance unveils a unique brand of messianic clientelism as well as a fragile set of contradictions crackling at the system’s core. The book explodes the myth that SINGOs somehow sidestep politics while exposing these organisations’ systematic dearth of accountability. Understanding International Sport Organisations is resolutely interdisciplinary; engaging history, international relations, politics, sociology, and sport studies. It is a vital contribution that enhances our understanding of the far-reaching, many-tentacled organisations that dominate the modern-day sports landscape.’Jules Boykoff, Professor of Political Science, Pacific University, USA

    ‘Allison and Tomlinson's conceptualisation of SINGOs, and the book as a whole, is an important advance in the study of international sport. The focus on the IOC and FIFA as the two ‘mega-SINGOs’ is warranted but does not exclude other significant non-state actors who influence the sport/diplomacy landscape. The two authors are supremely well-placed to draw on their many years of professional expertise to provide a balanced argument between the historical evolution of these organisations and their contribution to contemporary international relations. As such the book has much to say to scholars of sport, be they historians, sociologists or political scientists.’J. Simon Rofe, Senior Lecturer in Diplomatic and International Studies, SOAS University of London, UK