Article Open Access

Community Sport, Australian Sport Policy and Advocacy: A Qualitative Study of Stakeholder Perspectives

Rural and Regional Development . 2024, 2(2), 10006; https://doi.org/10.35534/rrd.2024.10006
Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, 11 Kirinari St, Bruce, ACT 2617, Australia
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Received: 03 Feb 2024    Accepted: 15 Mar 2024    Published: 22 Mar 2024   

Abstract

This article explored aspects of the community sport policy process in rural New South Wales, Australia, focusing on the views of community sport club (CSC) officials relating to policy matters. Community sport represents a complicated policy arena, and rural communities face a level of disparity compared with better-resourced urban CSCs, particularly concerning policy implementation and advocacy issues. Officials at CSCs from ten different sports (n = 10) in a rural setting participated in semi-structured interviews to pinpoint themes common in the community sport policy process. Further, the research identified aspects of the connections that impact CSCs, including those with government and National Sporting Organisations (NSOs). To highlight the beliefs and attitudes of the CSC officials, the interviews had two key thematic foci—implementation and advocacy—and the findings highlighted sub-themes relating to the fundamental interests of CSCs. Overall, the research accentuated the hierarchical nature—a power imbalance—of sport policy processes, the potential for CSCs to have a bottom-up role in policy creation, and the consideration of a policy analysis and evaluation structure such as the Advocacy Coalition Framework. Finally, the outcome points to enthusiasm for strengthening community sport by giving CSCs a voice through localized advocacy.
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© 2024 by the authors; licensee SCIEPublish, SCISCAN co. Ltd. This article is an open access article distributed under the CC BY license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).