Sport as a tool of soft power in modern international relations


  • Bulat Gumarbaevich Akhmetkarimov Kazan Federal University, Russian Federation
  • Rita Rinatovna Aminova Kazan Federal University, Russian Federation


Sports, International relations, FIFA, FISU, Soft power, Olympic Games


What is the relationship between international relations and sports? Research on sports diplomacy suggests that sports has historically played an important role in bringing nations and cultures together. However, few studies have attempted to suggest an adequate theoretical framework for the analysis of the relationship. This study aims to fill this research lacuna. Authors advance the hypothesis that many countries in contemporary international relations increasingly rely on sports as a soft power tool. Furthermore, international organizations such as FIFA and FISU have lately evolved into important actors of global affairs. This article discusses an increasing role of sports in international relations. In doing so, authors examine the correlation between the number and scale of international sports events hosted by countries and respective changes in their foreign policy. Authors support theoretical conclusions by original data collected in Russia. Preliminary findings suggest that sports can play an effective role in promotion of peace, security, and sustainable development. Suggested framework largely explains the efforts of nation-states to host international sports competitions and offers predictive insights on the role of major sports competitions in international relations in the future.


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How to Cite

Akhmetkarimov, B. G., & Aminova, R. R. (2021). Sport as a tool of soft power in modern international relations. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 16(2proc), S421-S426. Retrieved from