Loughborough University
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Supervised autonomy and its impact on Nigerian sports

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posted on 2023-04-12, 15:51 authored by Johnny-Precious Ogbah

Empirical research indicates that Nigerian sport is on the decline as citizen participation in sport for health and recreation is low, facilities are poor, and as evidenced in the last four Olympic Games, results are on a downward spiral. This study investigates the relationship between politics, governance and sport in the Nigerian context and examines how this relationship affects results and output and ultimately sporting success in Nigeria. It goes further to investigate whether supervised autonomy through increased government and courts intervention in the operations of sports governing bodies (SGBs) can promote sporting success in Nigeria. It employs a qualitative research methodology, with Nigerian SGBs as the case study. 

In the data collection stage, semi-structured interviews were conducted with sports lawyers, current and past sports administrators, athletes, sports journalists and  other key stakeholders in sport. In the analysis stage, the study utilized the Thematic Analysis method, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) in order to examine the personal lived experiences of the participants.

This study found that corruption was a major reason behind the decline in Nigerian sport as funds released by government were not utilized by SGBs for the purposes for which they were released, thus leading to bad governance prevailing in many SGBs. It also found that giving SGBs full autonomy over their affairs was counterproductive as this allowed them to behave as they liked, thereby encouraging bad governance and ultimately having a negative effect on sport performance. The study also found that Supervised Autonomy through government and court supervision of SGBs would be likely to produce a system of checks and balances using Quasi Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations (QUANGOs) which would encourage transparency, accountability and better productivity by the SGBs.

This thesis has provided an empirical contribution to understanding the relationship between politics, governance and sport, the important role for good governance in delivering sporting success, and the effects of corruption in sports governance.



  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Loughborough University

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.


  • en


Alan Bairner ; Borja Garcia-Garcia

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  • PhD

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

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