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A critical comparative analysis of racial integration laws and its impact on professional team sports

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posted on 2023-08-30, 13:37 authored by Teng Guan Khoo
The following research aims to examine the interaction of law, either hard law (legislation) or soft law (governing body regulation), on achieving a balance between racial equality and success in sport. Nearly all national jurisdictions have legislated to some degree in an attempt to affect equality or equality of opportunity for its citizens. This might be based on achieving equality of opportunity or by means of affirmative action. The research aim is to ascertain how far racial discrimination laws have positive or negative impacts on the success of sports in different countries. The research also has a series of supplementary objectives: to ascertain and consider critically the extent to which the law in various jurisdictions (Malaysia, South Africa, England and the United States) has been used to promote equality; to develop a sequential model to describe general trends to predict the influence of affirmative action and equal opportunity legislation upon the potential success of countries’ sporting achievements; to review tensions inherent in reconciling the equality of citizens at a national level and their impacts upon the international sporting success of that nation; to establish a correlative relationship between the types of anti-discrimination law within nations and the impact of these upon the degree of international sporting success of those nations. The research conducted concentrates primarily on qualitative methods by first adopting a doctrinal approach in a comparative legal study of four jurisdictions (Malaysia, South Africa, England and the United States). A non-doctrinal approach is then adopted and a qualitative intrinsic case study completed, including interviews concerning the subject area. Thus, the research has used multi-method qualitative approaches. The research indicated different anti-discrimination approaches taken in achieving equality. This can be typified by countries such as the United States or England based primarily on meritocracy and countries such as South Africa and Malaysia based primarily on preferential treatment. There is evidence to suggest that these approaches do have a certain correlation, albeit not similar in the outcome of achieving equality for selection. From the evidence presented, the overall study illustrates that racial discrimination laws in the four jurisdictions produced a mixed outcome in relation to the success of professional team sports. Specifically, England and the United States witnessed a positive impact in terms of achieving international success in sports even though there are inherent difficulties in reconciling the equality of citizens at a national level. For Malaysia and South Africa, the result tends to be positive in general at this stage although it is equally recognised that this approach might result in some negative impacts in the long run. The research however is subject to certain limitations which are outside the scope of this thesis, but it is recognised that these might affect the overall success of professional team sports within those countries.



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