It is commonly assumed that more and more foreign-born sportspeople are nowadays included in international sports teams. This supposed increase has spurred many (inter)national controversies, as the status of these athletes as ‘true’ representatives of the nation is being questioned. We examine how the number of foreign-born sportspeople in the Olympics and the football World Cup changed, and how these numbers challenge notions of citizenship and nationhood. Taking the questions ‘who belongs to and who can represent the nation’ as a red thread, using a conceptual distinction between formal and moral citizenship, we argue the numbers and diversity of foreign-born sportspeople in national sports teams show some signs of increase in both the Olympics and the football World Cup, but not as dramatically as is often hypothesised. Furthermore, we show that meeting formal eligibility criteria does not automatically translate into being fully accepted as a true member of the nation.
|Title of host publication||Research Handbook on Sports and Society|
|Place of Publication||Cheltenham|
|Publisher||Edward Elgar Publishing|
|Number of pages||424|
|Publication status||Published - 2021|