Set for March 25, the game – Kosovo against Iceland – is part of the first round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But it is much more than a simple football match. Sports diplomacy has been the most successful strategy implemented by Kosovo to garner international recognition. It’s been nine years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, after Kosovo Albanians sought independence during the Yugoslavian wars.
Hours following Trump’s restrictive immigration policy was announced, various sports entities, including the NBA, MLS, and the UFC, had contacted State Department to determine how this would impact their respective businesses. The EO also threatened U.S. bids for the Olympic Games and World Cup. However, it was the policy’s impact on amateur wrestling that resulted in retaliatory action from Iran.
The event opened the door for other U.S. sports and cultural exchanges, too. “In the past, wrestling has played an important role in diplomacy,” Bender said. “This looks like a setback for sure. But it doesn’t necessarily impact our relationship with the Iranian wrestling federation.”
Fans of the Olympics can expect the spirit of the Games to remain aflame all year round, not just during the sporting extravaganzas, the man now responsible for broadcasting both the Summer and Winter events to hundreds of millions of viewers across Europe told Reuters. "We can make this a year-round experience... because of all the broadcast rights we have to Olympic sports," Eurosport CEO Peter Hutton said in an interview.
Japan's cultural appeal is at its best when the government takes a hands-off approach.
Indeed, the Olympic Torch may represent ‘peace, unity and friendship’ but the Games have always been about more than sportsmanship. The objective is to carry out sports diplomacy; however, the result is often dictated by power politics. This year, for instance, the participation of the first ever team of displaced athletes named ‘Team Refugees’ brings to light the instability of political regimes around the world.
Sport, as the virtuous expression of human self-improvement, honors standing in direct contact with another in the context of values and respect, to seek becoming a better person. Humanitarianism and Olympism share the universal ideals of respect and dignity. Their opposites, terrorism, prejudice and violence are today our main challenges. Perhaps we should see in Olympism and the principles of humanitarianism a tool for reconciliation between peoples and a solution to these conflicts.
Sport has become an essential tool in the European Union’s soft power approach. Over the past few years, the political vision promoting economic development through sport has become a standard practice in Europe’s policies of solidarity and sustainable development. Yet, how can the European experience help improve the Olympic ideal of using sport to promote peace and prosperity?