Good governance? National governing bodies of sport and the UK sport governance code

   School of Psychology and Sport Science

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  Dr M Dowling, Dr A Stodter, Dr J Roberts  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Research Group: Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences -

Proposed supervisory team: Dr Mathew Dowling ([Email Address Removed]),
Dr Anna Stodter ([Email Address Removed]) Dr Justin Roberts ([Email Address Removed])

Theme: Sport Policy and Management

Summary of the research project

In April 2017, UK Sport and Sport England co-published a new sport governance code, which sets out the principles of ‘good’ governance and the levels of transparency, accountability and financial integrity required for any sport organisations wishing to receive public funding (through UK Sport or Sport England). The creation and implementation of the code was a key part of the Conservative Government’s sporting strategy set out within Sporting Future (DCMS, 2015).

Governance in sport has become a central concern in recent years (Hums & MacLean, 2018; King, 2016). This interest has emerged, in part, from broader societal concerns surrounding governance (e.g., Enron scandal and economic crisis) but also due to recent high profile failures within sport (e.g., FIFA and the Russian doping scandal). There is no single agreed upon definition of governance, but ‘good’ governance can be broadly understood as the effective and responsible management of an organisation.

The current project examines how NGB’s have interpreted and implemented this new code of governance and assess what impact it has had on these organisations. Potential avenues of inquiry include: (i) how NGB’s have interpreted the new code of governance, (ii) the barriers and challenges faced by NGB’s in adopting the new code (iii) whether the new code has changed governance practice. In doing so, this project seeks to understand the implications of the new governance code for all sport organisations and improve its ongoing implementation.

This research may adopt a range of methodologies tailored to the specific research questions, including interviewing, surveys, and document analysis.

Where you’ll study

Cambridge (

Next steps

If you wish to be considered for this project, you will need to apply for our Sport and Exercise Sciences MPhil, PhD ( In the section of the application form entitled ’Outline research proposal’, please quote the above title and include a research proposal.

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded.
Details of studentships for which funding is available are selected by a competitive process and are advertised on our jobs website ( as they become available.
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