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Nothing left to chance? Development of elite sport policy in Scotland, 1999-2003

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This thesis examines the state-supported system for elite-level sport in Scotland and considers whether or not that system is effective in terms of delivery to athletes and coaches and assesses the extent to which it was fair and equitable in terms of outcomes.

The study is set within a feminist cultural studies framework that is enriched by qualitative study and based on the distinctively Scottish cultural and historical experience of the nature of sport.

The thesis comprises of two major studies and the findings are based on original material collected from three main research methodologies: documentary evidence, quantitative and qualitative analyses. Study one sets the historical and policy context in which the main focus of the research can be understood. An historical account of state involvement in the elite sport sector is followed by a critical evaluation of elite sport policy agenda during the first session of the Scottish Parliament (1999-2003).

The aim of this study was to identify and review the institutional and financial frameworks set up to guide the decision-making process for the delivery of the Scottish elite sport agenda. Study two was designed to gather demographic and socio-economic information on Scotland’s elite athletes and to measure the level of athlete satisfaction with the administration, effectiveness and equity of the Lottery-funded Talented Athlete Programme (TAP).

The first, predominately quantitative, phase of the study, was conducted by means of a postal questionnaire. Significant issues raised during this phase were followed-up and explored in more depth in the second, qualitative phase. Information from athletes was enhanced by the data gathered from interviews with officials, coaches and administrators who are vital to the implementation and success of the elite sport programmes currently in place in Scotland and at the UK level. Where appropriate, interview data is put into some context by with data collected by the researcher from various sources, including TAP press releases, annual reports and official documents.

The key findings of this research suggest that there are too many gaps in the present system of support for talented and elite athletes to be able to claim that Scotland is “a country where sporting talent is recognised and nurtured” (Scottish Sports Council, 1998b, pp.7).

Clearly, there is much still to be done it this vision is to be realised for all Scotland’s talented athletes, irrespective of their gender, cultural or socio-economic background. Only then, can Scottish sport genuinely claim that “nothing is left to chance” and Scotland can be considered “a country achieving and sustaining world class performances in sport” (Scottish Sports Council, 1998b, pp.7).



editors comments

Editor's comments -  [ The above is the abstract from an original PhD thesis; the final publication in the study for the author in pursuit of a doctorate; such works result in the author being awarded a PhD and the title of Dr. by an appropriately accedited University. PhD's are the culmination of a number of years work by the author supervised by two (normally PhD or MPhil qualified) academics and, with the addition of a further appropriately qualified academic (not normally from the same University) as part of a viva-voce examination team. Successful research work at PhD level is designed to add to the body of knowledge in the study area at some level.

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APA reference for this document


Reference : Munro, K. (2004) Nothing left to chance? Development of elite sport policy in Scotland, 1999-2003.PhD thesis, Glasgow:  University of Glasgow. Available from


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Access this URL ( Munro, K. (2004) Nothing left to chance? Development of elite sport policy in Scotland, 1999-2003.PhD thesis, Glasgow: University of Glasgow
Last Updated on Monday, 06 August 2012 15:13  

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