While League of Fans’ sports policy director Ken Reed’s book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan, was written primarily as a manifesto for sports reform in the United States, various sports reformers across the globe have also found value in Reed’s issue analysis and recommendations for change in recent years.

Malcolm MacLean, a sports historian, sociologist and anthropologist with the University of Gibraltar and University of Queensland, has written a review of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. He highlights the ways the book can be useful in other cultures as well as some of its limitations for sports systems quite different than the United States’.

Writes MacLean:

“Reed is Policy Director at the League of Fans, a project initiated by US-based consumer advocate Ralph Nader, described on its website as ‘a sports reform project … to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.’ These comprehensive goals are shored up by this book that is a valuable addition to the arsenal of any sports reform advocate.

“One of the category errors we often make when exploring sports cultures is to distinguish corporatized performance sport from recreational sport as leisure.

“For the most part, Ken Reed does not fall into that trap, recognising the vertically integrated character of sport systems and sport cultures, even if he is not explicit about the differences between systems and cultures. This results in a remarkably comprehensive critique, splicing together policy, media, coaching styles, sport in educational settings including physical education, injury, and ownership models of professional teams. All of this is woven through an action oriented, equity driven, approach with clear suggestions for practice, ways to effect change, and a powerful sense of who matters (and just a hint – it’s not sports’ big business forces…).

“‘How We Can Save Sports’ is an example of the kind of critical, action-oriented assessment of the sport sector we need more often if we are to build a sport world that is inclusive, participatory, and encourages more of us to stay active members for longer. The notions of PAAC (profit-at-all-costs) and WAAC (win-at-all-costs) are solid places to begin our critique, even if our local circumstances and therefore action plans finish up looking quite different to Reed’s.”



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