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The Lack of Age Representation in the Governance of Rugby Union in England

Lookup NU author(s): Adam White, Professor Allyson PollockORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Human Kinetics, Inc., 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Diversity and representation in sport governing bodies has become an issue for both public discussion and academic debate in recent times. Previous work has primarily centred on gender inequalities within the forever changing masculine terrain of sport. However, no work has yet examined the representation and participation of young people in the decision-making structures of sporting bodies. This paper holds up England’s Rugby Union for organizational analysis, using the notion of homologous reproduction as a heuristic framework. In doing so, it explores the reproduction of this governing body for the systematic exclusion of young people in decision-making processes over the last few decades. This framework is then twined with Article 11 of the United Nation’s Convention for the Rights of the Child, to make the case that the RFU desires homologous reproduction in order to avoid dealing with what youth are currently concerned with –head injuries. Given such a high proportion of rugby’s participants being under twenty-five years of age, we conclude the lack of young people within the decision-making process represents a form of wilful discrimination.

Publication metadata

Author(s): White AJ, Robinson S, Anderson E, Bullingham R, Pollock AM, Scoats R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sociology of Sport Journal

Year: 2019

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Pages: 300–310

Online publication date: 12/08/2019

Acceptance date: 25/03/2019

Date deposited: 15/08/2019

ISSN (print): 0741-1235

ISSN (electronic): 1543-2785

Publisher: Human Kinetics, Inc.


DOI: 10.1123/ssj.2018-0149


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