To date, the relationship between diplomacy and international sport has been relatively
under-theorized. This paper seeks to redress the deficiency by proposing an analytical
taxonomy of the multiple convergences between international sport and diplomacy.
The principal analytical distinction to be drawn is between (1) international sport
consciously employed by governments as an instrument of diplomacy and (2)
international-sport-as-diplomacy, the diplomatic representation, communication and
negotiation between non-state actors that take place as a result of ongoing international
sporting competition. By increasing understanding of the roˆles of sport in diplomacy
and diplomacy in sport, the paper seeks to promote the adoption of best practices to
facilitate effective use of sport in diplomacy by governments and effective use of
diplomacy by international sporting bodies, and to instigate a debate between theorists
and practitioners from both realms.
The genesis of this section of the paper came from Stuart Murray’s presentation ‘Sports-
Diplomacy: A Hybrid of Two Halves’ at ‘The International Symposium on Cultural
Diplomacy’, Berlin, 11–15 May 2011.