These days, protest and sport almost seem synonymous, from athlete activism in solidarity with Black Lives Matter to protest against sporting events in authoritarian states. But how has sport become such an enticing platform for protest? Why is it that human rights and sporting events are now two sides of the same coin? Why do the IOC and FIFA now embrace human rights and environmental sustainability rhetorically, whereas they categorically rejected both as ‘political’ until very recently?
This PhD project sets out to explore how and why public protest against the hosting of mega-sporting events, and in particular the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup, has emerged and transnationalised from the 1960s to the present. The research focuses on local urban and environmental protest and cross-border protest around human rights and political issues. The project also aims to examine in which ways international sport organisations, as well as host states, have responded to opposition over time. In doing so, this dissertation aims to bring together the fields of sport, protest, and political history on the one hand, and research on social movements studies and international organizations on the other