Contextual Factors influencing the South African Elite Sporting System: An ‘open system’ approach

Shaundre Dwaylynn Jacobs, Veerle De Bosscher, Jeroen Scheerder, Ranel Venter

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Elite sporting systems are often descriptions of established practices with little regard for
national contexts. This paper examined the influence of contextual factors on the elite
sporting system of South-Africa. The contextual factors were evaluated through the lens of
systems theory (Components: Economic, social, political, legal, and technology). A
maximum variation strategy was used to select experts from SA and varied European
countries and South African governmental stakeholders. Data were collected through semistructured
in-depth interviews. Deductive and inductive methods were utilised during the
thematic analysis. The preceding Apartheid regime, the complexity of the ‘quota system’,
and the prevailing social and economic environment were identified as the major contextual
aspects penetrating the elite sporting system of SA. This study emphasized the importance
of understanding the national contexts of elite sporting systems, as this information can
provide pertinent input when revising policies differently in order to achieve international
sporting success.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Global Sport Management
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021


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