1° SEMINAIRE INTERNATIONAL DU VATICAN
back over the last 100 years, the face of sport has changed beyond recognition.
Although modern sport has religious and moral roots in the original Olympic
ideal of the Greeks and the Olympic movement of Coubertin, it owes a good deal
to the national revival movements such as that of Jahn, the father of gymnastics,
to certain educational systems (e.g. in Britain), and from the democratisation
of leisure time, by which sport not only increased but became accessible to all.
However, sport is now, at the beginning of this new millennium, dominated by
commercialization, the media and the medical profession. Active interest in
sport for fun and passive interest in top-class sport have grown enormously. A
whole industry has grown up around sport that fuels its own success: advertising
and sponsorship increases demand and gives sport an enormous financial boost.
domination of sport is increasing at the top-level of professional sport with
astronomical sums spent on media marketing. There is a widening chasm between
the increasing importance given to sports media and its sense of responsibility.
Ideals such as " it is more important to take part than to win " or
" there are higher values than success " seem to be increasingly
obsolete in this context.
sport has always been associated with health and fitness, sports' growing
partnership with the medical profession, above all in the area of
pharmaceuticals, has brought some damaging results. Doping is something which
seems to be inextricably bound with sport today. In terms of the user of
controversial substances, doping is attractive. It is not just about enhancing
performance, but also about relieving pain and injury, shortening recovery times
and ensuring that short-term but intensive success wins over longer term
is a very complex phenomenon even if the ban and the official fight against
doping is so often reclaimed. Today, the question of aging is also often seen as
related with a sportive life. The regeneration of brain cells even in the higher
age by physical training has been demonstrated. Medical care has therefore grown
in significance and scale.
has an impact on the products offered by the pharmaceutical industry and on the
increasingly specific demands on medical personnel, for whom there is no
specific training approved by sport associations or by the state.
the end, sport mirrors our society. Its ambiguities can be looked at in the
light of the broader ambiguities of our society. Yet, on the other hand, in
terms of supply and demand, sport " supplies " us with a unique set of
qualities or values which are attractive because they can- not be achieved (or
so it appears) as efficiently by other means. Some of these values are: health
and fitness, energy, the experience of competition, a feeling of achievement and
success, discipline, social contact, educational and cultural opportunities, a
model of fair play, solidarity, social advancement and integration.
Sport as a means of human development.
experience shows that sport can favour human development. One of the
possibilities of sport is taking part in a learning process. If morality, as
tradition unanimously maintains, depends on volition, then the metaphor behind
Nietzsche's punning reference to the 'exercise of the will' is relevant here.
The exercise of the will is an asceticism which finds its anthropological
yardstick in a human volition purged of self-concern. Asceticism can be seen as
purified self- love. This learning process includes self-distancing and
restraint as an inward aspect of specific development. A further essential
characteristic is that of moderation as an expression of ones personality.
Anyone concerned with discovering what is appropriate to him or her is also
looking for a progressive equilibrium of individual potentialities, which has to
be made in order for them to develop reciprocally.
as a means of being human has something to do with the nature of the ' social
character ' (Erich Fromm) which it produces. By this I do not mean temperament,
but rather, the effects of an assimilation process of the world and a
socialization process between human beings. The notion that development through
sport, and ultimately sporting achievement, presupposes character is as
important as the idea that it helps to produce it. It should be clear that the
development of sport depends on the socio-psychological context.
to Erich Fromm, there are two possible social orientations or tendencies: one is
destructive and the other is productive. The destructive tendency may also be
seen as a product - or consuming orientation, in which spiritual values become
commodities viewed in terms of material desire. This tendency reduces everything
that is human to the inanimate and consequently is spiritually destructive.
productive tendency, or biophilia, on the other hand, does not see the result of
a performance as an outline or as a thing, but is interested in how the activity
helps to transform the human person.
From fairness to justice.
the one hand, 'fairness' comprises personal dignity : the inalienability,
uniqueness and individual pervasiveness of persons. On the other hand, fairness
also comprises traditional ideas of aequitas, of equity, of a balance of
presuppositions, requirements and possibilities.
behaviour is equivalent to the one, and fair rules are equivalent to the other.
Whoever wishes to be fair and just needs corresponding rules to be so. He has to
make the principles of equality the basis of developing freedom, and therefore
has to accept the equality of rights and obligations.
most important practical rule of the sense of justice is the 'maximin principle'
which justifies inequality only if this serves and determines the thrust of
justice, so that every measure, equal or not equal, is directed to the greatest
advantage (maximum) of the most disadvantaged (minimum). This criterion is
unusual for us, for our society by reason of economy is accustomed to an
emphatically utilitarian philosophy. A utilitarian attitude sees a measure as
just if the disadvantages of certain groups can be set against the advantages of
the whole. In accordance with this 'maximin' criterion, it is possible to decide
whether priorities in rule interpretation, priorities in sport pro- motion,
priorities in environmental justice, and priorities of self-control in sport are
just and fair.
Sport in the context of solidarity and liberty.
the ethics of sport are most often subject to the paradigm of self-realisation,
this paradigm most commonly takes place in an encounter with another person.
From this viewpoint, the social dimension is ultimately an external 'imperative
of avoidance'. But a constructive social emphasis would assume that sport is
also thought of politically. Discussion of the so-called politicisation of sport
often 'barks up the wrong tree', even though it rightly rejects inappropriate
political functionalist of sport. From the ethical standpoint, however, the
inappropriate politicisation of sport is not the transposition of sport into the
political dimension, but the unjustifiable application of a political phenomenon
to sport. Anyone who, similar to Vatican II, conceives sport as a contribution
to the establishment of fraternal relations between people of all classes,
countries, and races, will necessarily advocate a 'political' sport. The
political dimension includes on the one hand the public character of sport, and
on the other hand the responsible involvement with social institutions. Sport is
a public social institution. Involvement in it belongs to the realm of political
the principle of subsidiarity, the organization of sport may be relative
autonomous. But sport is not a societal oasis. If some societal problems
connected with sport events cannot be regulated by the sporting authority itself,
then the regulation by common law is necessary. Not only justice, but the
principles of solidarity and liberation have to be considered here. The
attainment of solidarity is a presupposition of sport itself and of involvement
in sport: for access to solidarity means the simultaneous learning of
restrictions and of openness. Solidarity mediates between the need for
reciprocal partisanship and the drive to continually extend this option.
concept of democracy and social liberty is important for sport to make the
transition from the paradigm of an imperial developmental aid (or, as we might
term it, structural promotion), to the paradigm of self-reliance in a context of
liberty. Sport should be communicated politically, for it is a cultural
phenomenon, but it should also be subject to emancipatory processes.
Sport within the global common good.
can see sport as a common cultural heritage of mankind. This means it is a good
(even in a pre-moral sense), that corresponds to human needs and must be
administered globally and under global codes. A global common good does not deny
cultural differences and preferences. But the intercultural exchange of these
specific preferences, which are not common, is facilitated today by the mass
media in such a way that the common mutual understanding of these differences
has advanced so much that the experiences of strange customs now belong to the
realm of familiar experiences.
common relevance of sport is decided in practice. Perhaps there will once again
be cultures in which people survive without sport and possibly live better lives
without it. Nothing entitles us to assume that our cultural activity known as
'sport' is more than the result of specific social processes, the ultimate
meaning of which cannot be assessed as yet. In this sense, sport is not a
'supra-temporal' but a 'historical good', which forms one of the " signs of
the time " (cf. signa temporis, Vatican II ). In fact, sport is subject to
a form of historical necessity which neither society nor the individual can
easily avoid but must make the best of it.
is a leisure pursuit, an achievement pursuit, a mode of obedience to the drive
to self-display, a means for young people to meet on a supra-national level, and
a means of symbolic cultural exchange. Sport as all of these things has possible
ethical implications, especially as an international youth movement and as a
symbolic cultural exchange.
has even been called a form of the peace movement itself.
is excessive and obscures the difference between non-moral values or commodities,
and moral values which indicate the criteria for use of such commodities. For
example: sport serves peace as a process of reduction of force and of inducement
to social justice, when it is practised appropriately. In fact, it can be put
entirely in the service of the opposite of peace: it can be used as a part of
the athletic armoury of different political blocs, as a nationalistic
self-enhancement, as a glorification of competitive ideology, as an aggressive
potential of an individualism which employs the use of in appropriate means
under the guise of acclaimed results.
sport politics can be tantamount to peace politics, and the pursuit of sport can
adopt some of the learning processes proper to peace education. Sport as a
movement to global (inter)culture is ethically relevant, but this does not
happen by itself, it remains a task for all of the concerned parties (see below).
This can be underlined by the negative potential which is almost on the side of
the concrete praxis of sport.
Negative aspects of a postmodern culture of sport.
as an activity that occurs within a social context does not mean that sport is
one among other areas of life, but rather, that the imbuing of human beings in
society with sport is a form of 'inflexional language'. Or, as Luhmann describes
it, it is a form of a 'reduced complexity' in social life. It is a language
which a person has to use in this particular way, even when apparently avoiding
this specific area of life.
avoidance is possible however only as a conscious refusal which is
systematically and appropriately integrative into a sports context, as something
'unsporting' (which nowadays is much worse than being 'unmusical'). If we accept
that sport is a social context or social system in the sense of a form of
reduced complexity of the world of life, it seems appropriate to consider this
reelection in an environmentally 'critical' manner : that is, from the viewpoint
of a 'human' environment. Then we must take the multiplicity of possible human
images into account. Accordingly, I see the Christian view of humanity as an
'open concept' which comprises consistency in terms of a living tradition, and
the equilibration of actual areas of human life. In light of this, the following
observations seem important.
reduction of physical activity to the cult of the body.
Fathers of the Church confronted two extreme tendencies regarding the inadequate
integration of physical activity in sport in classical antiquity. On one hand
there was the 'Apollonian' separation of spirit from body - the Gnostic tendency
- and, on the other hand the 'Dionysian' separation of the body from spirit;
that is, the body as an instrument of idolatry. The Old and New Testaments
accord here with the Fathers: the games are a form of cult to idols, which
Tertullian says the baptised must shun. Clement of Alexandria anticipated the
judgment of the twentieth-century Church with a more nuanced opinion: "
physical activity, yes; the cult of the body, no ". This discernment of
spirits demands closer consideration.
activity is reduced to the cult of the body when: - the health of a human being
is seen as a purely physical thing.
long ago told us that health is unattainable by isolating the body. If however
the illusion is pursued that health is a purely physical functioning of the
body, then physicality is an inadequate way of representing the whole human
being; - when physical appearance is confined entirely to the ideal of the
athletic body. Advertising and everyday notions of appropriateness in regard to
the appearance of the body, in fashion for instance, but also in normative
distinctions between the sexes, confirm the ideal of a body transformed by
sport. Historically speaking, this form of reductionism was not always
self-evident, as Rubens' paintings show; - when physical achievement overrides
the recreational dimension. This one-sidedness of sporting achievement is more
liable to harm than to promote a holistic view of physical exercise.
Examples of this tendency are tennis elbow, cyclist's cramp and restraint
in movement due to the excessively pronounced muscles of a weight lifter ; -
when the training of the body associated with sport interrupts youthful physical
development, or when sport, so to speak, exacts its price of a delayed injury
which shows its negative effects in old age if not before.
course these well known critical repercussions do not mean that human beings
cannot live, and must not live, with these reductive features in their lives.
They may do so on the condition that they observe the principles of moral
integration: that is, the liberation of these reductive features from mere
partial goals, from, in fact, " reductions ". They also have to keep
to the motto 'nothing to excess', which was Johann Michael Sailer's contribution
to the debate.
social problem of physical activity resides in its instrumentalisation. Whereas
before, the so-called 'games' were mere performances in which only success
counted, today, participation, which is characteristic with mass sport,
represents a step of progress. How magnificent to be one of the 80,000 who were
allowed to take part in the New York marathon! The imbuing of life with sport is
not a reduction of life to the realm of the mere physical, but rather a
progressive manifestation of the cerebral in the physical: that is, the drive to
achieve is ultimately located in the brain. Therefore it is scarcely surprising
that in competitive sport the psychological factor is a key to success as is
often the case in tennis.
reduction of the play element by the cult of success and competition.
some time now the social symbolism of sport, even of broad-based sport, has been
located not in physical activity but in the cult of success. Graf von Krokow put
it this way: sport expresses the principles of industrial society belief better
than that society itself. Sport without something to be counted and assessed is
mere play or even 'idle' art. The sporting person is the prototype of success.
The achievement principle of modern society means: human equality and inequality
depend on the individual, not on any inherent dignity. Each person can be the
architect of his or her own glory (consider the notion of the " pursuit of
happiness " in the United States constitution).
the sporting maxim was " it is more important to participate than to win
". Today, it would only be possible for sport to return to the level of
human play if sport were pursued for the sake of play itself: that is, when
playing is more important than winning. But this would mean a change in social
behaviour in respect of sport. Unfortunately the general public does not think
that it is more important to play than to win.
in itself, is a meaningful communicative movement. That is how Vatican II sees
it in Gaudium et Spes, citing sport as that which helps to create harmony of
feeling on the level of community. But the achievement culture is a reduction of
communication to the level of consumption of results. The alternation of
remembering and forgetting for the sportsman - producer and consumer- is
characteristic of that. The modern human being has to 'train' for the play
element in sport. Of course performance and play should not be forced into an
absolute antithesis. The language of play must comprise the language of
performance. The reductionism of performance culture in sport is directly
hierarchical: that is, result-oriented performance decides the permissible
elements of play.
reduction of communication to the level of consumption.
Chrislian social ethics, the ordo rerum must remain subordinate to the ordo
personarum. The personal element, or, in terms of social psychology, human
identity, also includes subsistence or, in chronological terms, consistency and
communication. In the Christian tradition the person is not an island, but
realizes himself through relationships, and therefore in a communicative process.
Sport is wholly a locus of communication. A series of sets of movements, which
give sport its expressive power, may be interpreted as a kind of pre-linguistic
or unique linguistic communication. This is true of sport itself, above all of
team sport, but also on the periphery of sport. The more sport comes under the
rule of goals, success and achievement, the more one- dimensional is the
possible communication of the participants, and the more it obeys the will for
achievement of the industrial society or of the performance society, where
everyone does his or her job.
my opinion communication and ethics form a hermeneutical circle: that is, they
mutually presuppose one another. This hermeneutical circle makes it rather
difficult to distinguish between descriptive levels: between, that is, the
observed communication of social mediation processes, and the evaluative level,
where it is decided that communication is always desirable. Let us try the
descriptive level first.
area of life known as sport represents a relatively independent system of social
mediation processes, and also a relatively autonomous system of linguistic and
specialist communication. If that communication is essentially
performance-oriented in the sense of success and result, then communication as a
form of accounting predominates.
think of the mass media.
counterpart of sport as a form of result-oriented communication is a
result-oriented communication for the sake of sport. This is associated with
acceptance behaviour. Sport-related consumer behaviour reduces social
sensitivity to the result. For the critical observer, all that counts is the
tension which occurs between result and performance. The imbuing of society with
sport gives rise to the sport-consumer mentality, to the consumption of results.
Here consumption also has a surrogate function: the possibility of living by
With family values and other values.
is not necessarily in opposition to family values as both promote the need for a
person to live in good relations with others whether of the same family or team.
A family can insure an integrative life for children. However, often sport
pushes for the individualisation of options and the pursuit of the individual's
own success. In this sense, the compatibility of sport with family life may be
an important litmus test for the ability of humanistic development through
the other hand, sport is forming " new families " or establish
familiar ties between people who otherwise live together as strangers in a
pluralistic society. The integration of foreign people is one of the admired
possibilities of the sport associations.
will only take the example of the importance of environmental values like
sustainability. This concerns architecture and energy as needs in sport. The
question of " nature " becomes more and more a new search for adequate
means and for limits of human self-creation.
as a mirror of the society shows the new possibilities of a culture of nature
and at the same time the wide spread defects.
question of the culture of Sunday and the other equivalent religious holidays
shows an enduring conflict with sport events. But also in this case solutions
are possible. They are dependent on the initiative of the involved persons and
on the structures. But the Sunday is not the only question that regards
religion. The relationship between sport and meditation, as well as the role of
prayer in sport, needs further attention. The misuse of religious symbols as
magical practices should also be further studied. Sport can also become a kind
of secular religion and here the distinction of the spirit of symbols and signs
must be further studied and developed also.
collective term 'commercialisation' comprises quite different phenomena and
developments, which ultimately result in a progressive interaction of economy
and sport as both leisure and competition.
includes the industry of sports equipment and clothing and the construction of
sports locations and the financing of sporting events, the establishment and
maintenance of sport organizations and divisigns, and the use of sport and
sports information for publicity purposes, outside and inside the sport industry,
and for the financing of promotions, premiums, compensatory payments. retainers
and prize money, and the economic administration of sports manufacturers and
their means of production.
general, the economisation of politics and everyday life is a growing tendency
which also means the politicisation of the economy.
is an increase in performance levels and competition. The mutual approximation
of top professional sport and broad-based sport as far as performance levels and
competition are concerned, means that the economisation of sport is the result
of a general social development, and not an exception which can somehow be
Economisation is a consequence of the growth system. The transition from
quantitative growth to qualitative growth has been as little evident hitherto as
the realization of an equilibrated economy that would obey the rules of energy
saving, environmental protection and just distribution. The need for economic
expansion is evident everywhere in society. Science and technology develop
essentially as functions of this need (cf. media development, microbiology).
expansion of economic structures and economically conditioned behaviour into
sport is, so to speak, enforced. The sporting performance which has its 'reward'
in the non-economic sector (health, the discovery of identity, social
communication and recognition), gives way to a form of sport which, beyond the
non-economic reward, brings payments in money or other economically convertible
tokens. The sport which occurs in a non- purposeful setting of mere joy in play
and communication, gives way to the demands of increased turnover (publicity,
marketing): that is, it is subordinate to the economic accounting of events.
Leisure sport is increasingly subject to the influence of the products which, in
the shape of sports equipment, sports clothing, mega stadiums, and so on, make
it more effective and at the same time aid the laws of performance and
competition. Anyone who falls back materially in the main areas of mass sport (skiing,
tennis) cannot keep up and is no longer a recipient for non-economic 'rewards'.
resistance of sporting organisations on the various regional, national and
international levels to these developments decreased insofar as, in addition to
compulsory economisation (and internationally the distinctions between social
orders play no part here as long as only growth economies are concerned). the
professionalization of sport increases ineluctably. This professionalization has
nothing to do with the special conditions of top professional sport but has
resulted from training, organization and care in mass sport. Anyone who says
'A', that is, who is favourable to the imbuing of society with sport and to the
democratization of sporting possibilities, also has to say 'B': that is, has to
take sport increasingly into account as a professional career.
the consequence of this is that sport as a social service, and sport as an
economic exploitation process of capital and labour, progressively reduces the
partial autonomy of sport as it becomes a factor of integration in universal
social developments, in which a Nobel Prize, a victory at Wimbledon and
exporting a record number of motor cars have the same economic symbolic effect.
economically and socially conditioned decrease of the partial autonomy of sport,
however, which goes against the notions of a 'wholesome world' of sport that is
restricted to speeches, is to be explained as a system- environment relationship.
The more the selective elements of the system decrease under environmental
influences, the more the system adapts to general needs and expectations, which
in their turn underlie the more global form of system control. Instead of the
area-specific profile. there is an increased tendency to level down at the
orders of economisation, so that sport performance, the production of
entertainment and scientific efficiency, and even the evangelisation of churches
must obey the same rules.
developments can be limited by various forces, whose stability is of course
exposed to the constant pressure of development: by the declaration of the
partial autonomy of the sub-system in accordance with selective rules whose
validity it demands for itself; by social forces which act in the name of
non-economic human values and developments or obey them at least partially; by
state influence, which ensures the 'freedom' of sport as much as the freedom of
art and science: this is, by management of the significance of the economic
valuation of products and achievements.
commercialization of sport depends not least of all on the fact that sport inter
alia, but increasingly, is a mass media product which is to be marketed
universally almost immediately, so that sport is subject to the dual rules of
its own self-regulation on the one hand and its external regulation as a media
commodity on the other. The more the system of sport and the mass media system
are mutually involved, the more dependent they become on one another and the
greater the danger that sport communication will become the mere equivalence of
two economic interest camps. without any role being accorded to consideration of
'the specific values of sport' (apart perhaps from the peripheral area of fatal
collisions). The greater the economisation of sport the more the non-economic
needs and values (which do not have to be ethical values in and for themselves)
are forced to the periphery of sport.
I have discussed phenomena and developments in respect of the general problem.
Now I must discover some criteria for making distinctions and proceed from their
basis. First of all
it is necessary to establish how far the economisation of sport answers on sport
goals; social needs and material needs. This would be tantamount to a search for
the correct extent of a (qualitative) economisation of sport. Secondly, we have
to locate precisely where the economi- sation of sport debouches into its
commercialisation; that is, where sport becomes a commodity rather than obeying
its true nature. I am using economisation here in the negative sense of
Here the same criteria apply: the commercialization of sport occurs when
economisation takes place at the expense of sport's true ends and when
economisation takes place at the cost of social needs and values.
seems to me that these distinctions could still be made in the pre-ethical area,
if the presupposition were accepted that sport possessed its own value and an
associated partial autonomy; that is, sport is not allowed to masquerade in the
commodity role of an economic valuation process. The distinctions become more
debatable when ethical criteria for sport (representing an ethically appropriate
concern with the values of sport) are to be brought into the context of
universal socio-ethical notions (of, say, Christian social teaching) for the
dis- cernment of spirits.
it is a question (in the third instance) not only of the restriction of
commercialisation within the setting of a compulsory economisation, but of the
limitation of homo oeconomicus by means of a holistic conception of human beings
pure and simple. That requires the introduction of positive criteria: a
non-economic form of human dignity; the revaluation of non-economic needs and
corresponding value orientations or basic attitudes; the proposal not only of
personal but of structural alternatives to the developments described. The use
of such criteria is certainly possible only in discussions with experts from
other disciplines or with some other form of practical experience. In the
following, therefore, I shall mention only a few examples which might help to
explain the relevant criteria more effectively.
examples of an appropriate economisation of sport.
of sport are, for instance, exercise, training in movement, pleasure in
achievement, personal relations and social recognition.
means and economically responsible planning are necessary to promote these
goals. In so far as free economic forces co-operate in the promotion of these
goals while furthering their own interests, their efficiency must also be
assessed in regard to these aims.
needs are, for instance, help for the socially disadvantaged (e.g. sport for the
handicapped, structural aid to rural areas or new urban housing projects) and an
absence of information. Here too it is possible to accommodate particular
economic interests ( all the more so if work can also be provided). Here it is a
question of balancing the ends with the means.
demands include, for instance, more professionalism in training, recreation and
organization. Here, in addition to balancing ends against means, it is also a
matter of supporting, influencing, and balancing these same interests.
Examples of an inappropriate economisation of sport.
At the expense of sporting goals and aims: if, instead of physical
exercise, play, and achievement, the main concern is with the entertainment of
spectators; if direct human contact is lost in favour of the isolation of
individual performances; if the formation of a sports elite loses contact with
the basis; if the commercialization of the promotion of achievement uses
impermissible means (stress and damage to health; the use of questionable drugs);
if sports medicine becomes more important than training; and so on.
the expense of social needs and valuations: if the maintenance and origin of
other leisure and cultural values are impaired; if the promotion of sport in
events and broadcasts leads to competition with other needs (care for the family,
personal interests): if industrial concerns promote sport but omit to humanist
the work- place; if sport and care for the environment are made to compete, and
altering the degree of material necessity: if it is only the market value of
performance in sport seen as a commodity which determines its reward instead of
the achievement itself, and the appropriate needs of the sports person; if the
sports organization, bureaucracy, and information function solely in accordance
with commercial demands; if professionalization sees its task as primarily one
of serving the interests of competitive achievement and not as the increase of
other sporting goals; in short: if commerce decides the aims of sport instead of
the other way round.
CRITERIA THAT FAVOURS HUMAN DIGNITY
human dignity is not decided by economic ends (even though it requires economic
means), the following criteria have to be observed: human self-determination (e.g.
should parents and educators mark out children as future sportsmen and
sportswomen?); fundamental human needs (in addition to basic physiological needs,
the need for personal relations, social recognition, and meaning: should success
in sport downgrade superior needs?); individual and social rights (e.g. the
right to an appropriate education, to the opportunity to choose one's vocation,
to work as a fundamental principle of self-realisation, and so on); respect for
humanity dignity as a self-explanatory goal in human relations (how far does
commercialization threaten human relations, inasmuch as one's fellow human being
becomes no more than a means to winning?).
and basic attitudes: if sport is to help make possible a 'productive' human
orientation (in contrast to a 'destructive' orientation), then the following
criteria have to be observed: justice as fairness'. the capacity for
self-restriction; the promotion of life and environmental justice; the
potentiality of peace. Such values can only be reached if human needs remain
alternatives: here it is a matter of establishing due proportions between the
relevant criterion, the means used, and the goals of human success. This is
achieved, not by appealing solely to the individual athlete who is involved. but
rather, as a broad campaign that promotes the structural conditions for
'rational' sports persons.
considerations come to the forefront in utopias, such as an anti- or alternative
Olympics. Perhaps there are less complicated instances. Unfortunately a more
detailed account is beyond my competence. Nevertheless I can envisage a
reduction of the unilateralism of sport by a constant introduction of new areas
of competition. The foregoing are merely experimental illustrations of the
moral theologian can do no more than suggest possible criteria; he cannot
provide actual solutions.
THE ETHICAL FOUNDATION OF THE SOCIAL BAN AGAINST DOPING
spite of the complexity of the doping phenomenon, it is clear that the debate
must not be reduced to only two factors: health protection and unfair
performance enhancement. While health and fairness are important - and they
remain core values of sport (see below) - they must also be seen in the context
of, and in conflict with, other values; the autonomy of the mature sportsman or
woman. exceeding previous limits of performance and success - faster, further,
higher than before - and the feelings associated with tension in extreme
situations. However, there are two very cogent ethical arguments which consider
doping to be reprehensible from various points of view that I will now consider.
to this, the sportsperson has a contract with the sports organisations in
participating in his sport, competitions and training, which requires him to
adhere to certain rules, even if, in certain cases, these rules may appear to be
questionable, wrong or unfounded.
entrust the association with this important task of drawing up lists of banned
substances for performance enhancement, reduction of strain, regeneration etc.,
which they implicitly understand or explicitly express (e.g. in the Olympic oath).
They therefore also agree with penalties if they contravene the agreement.
Athletes can make this clear through a personal oath. The agreement gives them
rights as well as obligations.
argument of the inconsistency of values, rights and obligations.
argument is taken up by sport itself, and by society, which wants sport to set
an example of excellence. Sport cannot, on the one hand, claim such values,
rights and obligations in theory, and on the other negate them in practice. The
phenomena of commercialisation, media domination and medicalization that we have
referred to are dependent on a kind of added value resulting from them to profit
by them. Sport, which also gains from this, is subject to the obligation to
maintain these values, rights and obligations which it demands and claims for
itself. In fact its credibility depends upon it. Hypocrisy would compromise this
social contract with sport.
THE SOCIAL CONTRACT WITH SPORT
social contract with sport concerns the values which are inherent to sport and
explain its prestige and power of attraction; the rights which active and
passive participants in sport can demand to exercise; and the obligations of
mutual solidarity which bind sport and a democratic society.
values or assets on which sport is based and whose realisation is ethically
relevant or, in part, ethically feasible are, in contrast to those of active
participants- namely health, fitness, joie de vivre, discipline, team spirit and
training opportunities- cultural values such as travel, languages, leisure etc.
In relation to other participants these values are friendship, fairness,
cultural integration, recognition of " otherness ", consideration for
others, etc. In relation to the social status of sport, these values are setting
examples in the achievement-oriented society and the solidarity-oriented society
alike, cultural and training functions, integration of foreigners, the moral
dimension of developments in society and their manifestations, etc.
rights embodied in sport are self-development and self-awareness together with a
voluntary commitment to the values acknowledged through participation in sport.
These include: the right to the inviolability of one's own body, and to develop
it according to personality and gender; the right not to be exploited; the
protection of vulnerable groups (e.g. sport for the disabled); equality of
access, limited only by talent and achievement and non-discriminatory; the right
not to be deceived or led astray; the right to a reasonable balance between
risks and success; the right not to be harmed by others (trainers, competitors,
doctors, associations, media, publics; the right of active participants to take
part in decision-making; and the right to share in the resources created by
obligations of solidarity important to sport include preventive measures to
protect the sporting nature of sport and its associated values; appropriate
cultural assistance, or, where necessary, the withdrawal of such assistance; a
legal framework based on subsidiarity; consideration of the social, ecological
and media environment; protective measures for active and passive participants
in sport; obligations of solidarity between active participants; obligations of
solidarity on the part of the active participants as regards legitimate