When it comes to football, Manchester is divided into red and blue. However, the beautiful game is not the only topic of conversation. On Friday, MMU’s lecturer in Sociology, Dr. Chris Porter joined former NBA star, John Amaechi OBE in panelling the ‘Sport in the Age of Austerity’ talk at the University of Manchester. Accompanying academics were Dr. Neil King of Edge Hill University, and Dan Parnell of University of Derby respectively. Though much discussion was placed on football and its influences on society, the overarching topic was the failure of government sports policies in the current economic climate.
Dr. Chris Porter, director of MMU’s auspicious Centre for the Study of Football and its Communities (CSFC), spoke of the need for a more critical approach to ethical issues surrounding sport, particularly in football. He talked of sport having a powerful symbolic element for spectators and consumers as it is often an “integral part of contemporary life.” Consequently, he believes that high-profile sporting figures have a responsibility to criticise societal problems such as racism, homophobia and sexism within sport. He also suggested that the division in economic situations at Manchester City and Manchester United displays a need for official sporting organisations to create their own ethical policies concerning where sporting clubs receive financial support.