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Voertaal: Engels

Club Nine
Sandra Meeuwssen

Dr. Sandra Meeuwsen is a former triathlete, sports philosopher and scientific director of the Erasmus Center for Sports Integrity & Transition. In 2020, she wrote her dissertation on ‘Critique of Sports Reason; a Philosophical Archaeology of Modern Sports’, where she approached sports philosophy from a continental perspective. Sandra Meeuwsen has written extensively on the relationship between sports, ethics and politics in various world-sports events such as the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. In light of Qatar, Dr Meeuwsen will help us gain insight into the ethical dimension of the growing politicization of sports events.

John Graat

John Graat is a journalist and, since 2020, Chief of Sports at Trouw. In 2022, he visited Qatar to report on the World Cup, where he experienced the politicized tension first-hand. Here, he also spoke with migrant workers in communities just outside the city of Doha. John Graat will help us explore the questions journalists face when sports events are becoming more politicized. How do journalists report on sports when politics are involved? What considerations do journalists make on attending events as contested as Qatar?

Paul Reef

Paul Reef (MA) is a historian at Radboud University, specializing in the modern political history of Europe and the history of sports events. For his doctorate, he researched the rise of (transnational) protests, specifically against human rights violations, in sports events such as FIFA and the Olympic Games and how these organizations have responded to this rise. Paul Rise will present on the historical roots of the current politicization of sports events.

The Olympolitics

Do political statements belong in the sports world?


Let op: de voertaal van dit programma is Engels.

Do political statements belong in the sports world? A question that has been the focus of attention in the last couple of years, reaching a climactic point during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Rather than the focus on sports, it seems the World Cup is pre-eminently used for politics. From the One Love initiatives against discrimination to the Iranian team’s refusal to sing along to their national anthem in light of the protests that followed after the death of Masha Amini. In short, Qatar has been subject of debate not only in the light of sports, but of human rights and political activism. But when and where do we draw the line between what political messages can be conveyed in such events? Is it ethically responsible to ignore such aspects?

In this UGlobe café, we will discuss the different aspects and perspectives of (political) activism during international sport events, such as the Football World Cup and the Olympics. The evening will be centred around the question: To what extend is it desirable that (sport) events and politics blend together? We tackle that question with sports philosofer Sandra Meeuwsen (Erasmus Center for Sport Integrity & Transition) sports journalist John Graat and Paul Reef (University of Nijmegen). Moderated by Evert van Rest.

About the UGlobe Café 
The UGlobe Café is a unique collaboration between students of Utrecht University, the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe) and the knowledge and debate programme of TivoliVredenburg. In a joint editorial, topics are determined that bring knowledge outside the walls of the university in an accessible way.