The Hosting of Major Sports Events in Developing Countries: What can Kenya Learn from South Africa?

Odhiambo, Doreen Anyango (2015) The Hosting of Major Sports Events in Developing Countries: What can Kenya Learn from South Africa? Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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Developed countries have dominated the hosting of major sports events for many decades, however recent years have witnessed cities and nations from ‘developing countries’ bidding to stage and actually hosting these events. This thesis examines the growing interest of developing countries in hosting major sports events.
There were three main objectives. First, to outline the relationship between African countries and the global sports system (GSS), with a specific focus on Kenya and South Africa. Second, to critically assess the understandings of key actors and agencies in Kenya with respect to the possibilities and challenges of hosting major sports events, in comparison with actors and agencies in South Africa. Third, to investigate the knowledge transfer process with respect to the hosting of major sports events, using Kenya as an example.
The thesis adopted a critical realist theoretical framework to examine the structures and agencies of the GSS in order to understand the relationship between it and actors and agencies of sports events in Africa. The thesis argues that, though countries like Kenya may aspire to host one of the major sports events, the actual reality of hosting these events depends on many external factors which are out of their control.
The research methodology used in the thesis involved a two-stage qualitative approach through the analysing of archival data and conducting of expert interviews. The researcher reviewed past literature (on sports mega-events, sports policy issues, policy learning and transfer and the history of sport in Kenya) and constructed semi-structured interview guides.
The thesis concludes that the structure of the GSS and global sports organizations are not favourable to and are often prohibitive to developing countries in terms of enabling these countries to compete equally with developed countries in hosting sports events, competing in international sports events, and taking part in decision making at the international level. This is contrary to these organizations’ claims to adhere to the values of equality for all their members.

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