Effect Of Sports On Intercultural Communication

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The technology revolution has skyrocketed over the last few years; the whole world has become a global village. Consequently, the communication, interaction and relations between lots of individuals of different cultures all over the world have increased. This multiculturalism requires international understanding and awareness of different cultures’ dimensions, in order to have an effective international system, otherwise cultural conflicts can’t be avoided, undoubtedly leading to misunderstanding between individuals and hence system failure. The shrinking trait of the world and multiculturalism fan the flame of a very crucial topic and one of the most important aspects of international relations to be more analysed and studied which is intercultural communication.Sport community is a clear model of multiculturalism, in which a group of players and their coaches from different countries are brought together in one team and success is expected from them. However, the success is their main goal, it can’t be achieved without considering and the awareness of the cultural differences and dimensions of each. A clear example showing the importance of intercultural communication in success will be discussed below.

Not only is the sport a third language which overcomes any linguistic and cultural barriers in multiculturalism societies, but also having a great effect on changing people minds, prejudice, making peace and unity are from the great benefits of sports as it was also mentioned by Nelson Mandela, A South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” Nelson Mandela, 1996[1]

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However, many people will be against this opine, as they see that sports has a great share of contribution in violence, it promotes negative images of some nations increasing hostility and it may be sometimes the source of racism, not breaking down the racial barriers and this is going to be examined below.

Sports and Peace

Although sports have a great share in violence, it shows also that it is a main contributor in peace making. The history of sports is a clear proof of their magical effect in war prevention and uniting people. What is worth to be mentioned about sports, it’s ability of healing and solving conflicts between two different sides of different countries that negotiations and discussion failed to solve for years, and this is what is called about sports that it is a third language; when the negotiations between two sides of different cultures and different languages failed to solve the conflicts, the universal language of sports was always the key to the solution .Not only does it have the ability to make peace between two sides from two different countries, but also uniting people of the same country. This will be clearly proved in the following examples.

For instance, in case of Japan and South Korea when South Korea didn’t allow the Japanese to cross their borders for a world cup qualifying match due to the conflicts between them at this time; however, In 2002 - after this by less than 50 years- both of them put these conflicts aside and co-operated together to co-host the world cup. This story clearly shows the magical effect of sport on bringing peace and easily eliminating conflicts which couldn’t be eliminated through negotiations and discussions for years, but when it comes to the point of hosting the world cup and when they realized that they can’t do it without putting their hands together and forgetting about their conflict, so simply they forgot about it and it becomes just part of the past. [1]

Not only does it have the ability to eliminate conflict between different countries as shown above, but also uniting people of the same country while forgetting about any conflicts, history and even the bloody past, as what happened here in case of Hutu and the Tutsi. Those are two families from Rwanda, over one hundred thousand of the Hutu were jailed for their attempts to eliminate the Tutsi. In 2003, 40 thousands of them received amnesty and a match was held at this time between those who received the amnesty and the relatives of their victims from the Tutsi. Both sides decided to put their bloody past aside and play the match. Although that the Tutsi team won 1-0, the peace was said to be the real winner at this match. By analysing again what happened here, the magical effect of sport is obviously clear; it changes the hatred between people not only killing each other but also wanted to eliminate each other into peace. [1]


  1. Michael P. Keebler (2011). An Intercultural Communication Analysis of the “Social Profitability” of the FIFA World Cup (A Senior Honors Thesis). Department of Communication, Boston College.
  2. How Intercultural Differences Can Make or Break the Dreams of a Nation, https://www.communicaid.com/cross-cultural-training/blog/football-how-intercultural-differences-can-make-or-break-the-dreams-of-a-nation/. Last accessed: 31/12/2019.
  3. The World Cup and Cross Cultural Communication, https://www.uglobaleyes.com/single-post/2018/06/28/The-World-Cup-and-Cross-Cultural-Communication. Last accessed: 31/12/2019.
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Effect Of Sports On Intercultural Communication. (2022, February 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 14, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/effect-of-sports-on-intercultural-communication/
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