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The Influence of Discourse in Policy-making: An Analysis of EU Sport Policy in the Area of Good Governance

Jutta Prochaska

In recent years 'good governance in sport' has become an important topic within the EU institutions and the sport movement. This article explores how the idea of good governance was constructed and served as a problem definition and as a problem solution. It is based on process tracing by analysing official publications and by conducting semi structured interviews. Using the framework of discursive institutionalism, which focuses the analysis on the content of ideas and how they are developed in the coordinative discourse of EU institutions, this paper argues that different and sometimes rival narratives informed by very different ideas about sport were competing to construct the storyline of 'good governance' as an essential solution for problems concerning sport. For instance the discursive struggle established on the one hand the idea that events of match fixing are inherent consequences of failing governance structures in sport; while on the other hand actors constructed the meaning that match fixing is caused by criminal forces outside the sport and totally unrelated to governance structures. The conclusion of this article is that the discourse on good governance changed over the last years and this change did have an impact on the policy process of EU sport policy regarding the agenda status of governance in the sport sector.

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