The juridification of sport : a comparative analysis of children's rugby and cricket in England and South Africa

22 October 2012

This article takes as its point of departure the notion of juridification in sport and, in particular, the perspective that the term has previously often been used in sport and law literature in a too narrow and limiting sense. Using the work of Ken Foster as a platform, the article examines a more nuanced notion of juridification. It does this by first unpacking two levels of juridification – the more well-known notion of increased legal intervention is considered before moving on to a more sophisticated application of the idea in terms of its impact upon rules and practices in sport. Foster termed this juridification as domestication. The article then applies these ideas in a practical context by examining two applications of the two children’s sports (rugby and cricket) in England and South Africa. The article concludes as to the future developments that are likely to occur. Despite the economic and cultural differences it seems likely that South Africa will continue to follow England, as is the case with the first level of juridification, and that the rules and their enforcement will themselves become more domesticated. It is likely that coaches and educators will find themselves under increased pressure to conform from both a general fear of litigation and a changing internal regulatory regime of sport codes.