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    The tension between elite and grassroots sports: learning lessons for South Korea from the U.K., Australia, and Norway

    Kang, Bongsoo (2022) The tension between elite and grassroots sports: learning lessons for South Korea from the U.K., Australia, and Norway. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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    The purpose of this study is to identify the problems of the Korean sports system, that is, elite and grassroots sports and Korean sports governing bodies, and to propose applicable policies that can help the Korean sports system through analysis of systems, policies, and programmes in advanced sports countries such as the UK, Australia and Norway. For this purpose, this study set three research questions: 1) What are the key problems of the Korean sports systems? 2) How do the governing bodies for elite athletes, sporting programs, and participation in the UK, Australia and Norway function? and 3) How can South Korea learn from the sports systems of the UK, Australia and Norway? To answer these, the policy transfer framework used, and qualitative research methods were used with data collected using semi-structured interviews and document analysis. The elite sports’ problems discovered through the analysis were: 1) challenges with the win-at-all-costs mentality, 2) the Resocialisation of Retired Athletes and 3) the problems of school sports, and the grassroots sports’ problems were: 1) expanding the grassroots sports base and 2) the limitations of support projects. Lastly, the sports governing bodies problems were: 1) Conflicts related to the potential separation of the Korea Olympic Committee (NOC) and the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC, 2) the KSOC neglecting nurturing grassroots sports and 3) the lack of cooperation between government ministries. First, to improve the resocialisation of retired athletes in matters related to elite sports, this research proposed education and identification of athletes' interests, communication using the online community, provision of career programmes and the establishment of a professional consultation system. Second, to improve physical assault and sexual abuse, cooperation with Ethics Centres and sports institutions, establishing a continuous inspection system and continuous investigation and data collection were proposed. Third, to expand the grassroots sports base providing facilities meeting the people’s needs, establishing a family sports culture and linkage among schools and sports clubs were proposed. Fourth, to improve the National Fitness 100 programme, increasing the government's budget, establishing an income structure and providing customised programmes in connection with schools and local institutions were proposed. Fifth, to improve the conflict between the KSOC and Korean NOC over the separation of the KSOC and the MCST, separation was proposed.

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