…and one conversation after last Friday’s Sport and Social Responsibility Summit at the Cass Business School focussed on a singular gripe – the lack of buzz around the UK ‘s so-called ‘Golden Decade of Sport’.
Where were the Vanity Fair covers or trips to Number 10 that gave BritPop in the late 90’s its international recognition? Why wasn’t UK sport enjoying its ‘Cool Britannia’ moment?
It’s an interesting question and safe to assume that when, as seems likely, Conservative Party leader David Cameron swaps his Notting Hill residence for 10 Downing Street in May, the victory-party will include a sprinkling of celebs from the world of sport: for Noel Gallagher in 1997 read Lord Seb Coe in 2010.
Of course, not even the most self-important sports administrator would claim cultural icon status (well, maybe one or two), but there are other reasons it seems to me why the Golden Decade hype has yet to hit us between the eyes.
The Golden Decade has four events at its core – London 2012, Glasgow 2014, the Rugby World Cup 2015 and England 2018 (maybe).
Even if all four come to pass, the decade won’t truly be able to call itself gold-coloured, unless the events are a conspicuous success on a number of levels. Certainly, gold medals on the field-of-play will help, but major sports events now have far wider responsibilities.
At the hugely impressive Sport and Social Responsibility Summit, for example, one of the speakers highlighted the absolute need for London 2012 to prove its CSR credentials – bringing wider benefits to health, sports participation and society – or risk cut-backs in sports public funding going forward.
CSR programmes, therefore, are not just nice-to-have but must-haves if sports governing bodies are to continue to access public funds. This, of course, is just one of many rationales behind CSR activity highlighted by the conference and often demanded for by the ‘core values’ inherent in sports.
Sport, however, is not rock and roll – and it looks like the Golden Decade events will have to prove themselves on every front before they can earn their end-of-decade plaudits.