Sports diplomacy

  • Sports

Sports diplomacy

Diver in Barcelona 92, with the Catalan capital city in the background. EFE/Txema Fernández (EFE)
Diver in Barcelona 92, with the Catalan capital city in the background. EFE/Txema Fernández (EFE)

Sports competitions foster international relations, cooperation between peoples and cultural exchange. Spain has used sport to strengthen ties with foreign countries and territories. Spanish sportspeople have thus shared fruitful experiences with their counterparts from other nations beyond competition itself.

Sport at the service of international relations

The High Sport Council (CSD) has an active participation in the European Union, the European Council, Unesco and the World Conference on Doping in Sport. Through sports cooperation programmes, CSD cements relations with foreign countries based on sport.

Spain strengthens ties and fosters trust, cooperation and cultural exchange with foreign countries on the basis of sport

Spain has representatives in the International Olympic Committee and is a member country of the Ibero-American Sports Council (CID), established in Montevideo in 1994. In addition, our country participates in the Mediterranean Games, multi-sport games held within the Olympic Movement every four years, the next event to take place in Tarragona in 2017.

As to college sport, Spain is a member of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) and the European University Sports Association (EUSA), participating in both the Winter and the Summer Universiade.

Publications like Sport for a Better World, a guide sponsored by Unicef and CSD, review the benefits of sports as a tool for development and bear witness to the role sport plays in Spanish diplomacy.

In its 4th edition, the Spain’s Image Barometer (BIE), published by R. I. Elcano in December 2013, states that Spain’s sporting power is one of the most valued aspects of our country abroad. The participants in the survey, European and American citizens, ranked Spain above the UK, Germany, France, USA, Brazil, Mexico and Italy in this field.

Sports competitions in Spain

A country’s ability to organise world-class competitions is a key aspect to defining its sport capabilities. The Olympic Games held in Barcelona in 1992 were a turning point in the development of Spanish sport at the international level.

In 2014, Spain played host to the UCI Road World Championships (cycling), the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the ISSF World Championships (shooting) and the ISAF Sailing World Championships. A year before, in 2013, our country hosted the World Men’s Handball Championship and the World Aquatics Championships.

In 2011, Spain organised as many as 14 World and 23 European Championships, 11 World Championship rounds and 9 World Cup rounds. The next major sporting event to be held in our country is the Mediterranean Games 2017.