2015 | 16(4) | 31-45
Article title

Społeczny fenomen futbolu: The transformation of the public sports policy: politics, grassroots management and social capital of the Orlik programme in Poland

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In 2008–2013 the Polish local authorities, with the financial support of the central andregional authorities, built 2604 small sport facilities all around the country. This kind ofpublic policy – at such a large scale, completed in a very short time, addressed to amateurs,standardized, financed fully from public resources (and in half from the central budget) isunparalleled in any other country, so from the scientific perspective can be treated as anexceptional experiment. It is also impossible to compare this policy to any other – sincenowadays vast majority of the big public investments in sport focus on stadiums (Hallman2013). We propose that those sport facilities be treated as new institutions introducedtop-down in specific social and political reality and that the process of their developmentin the local and national context may serve as a kind of observatory of social and, particularly,institutional change. In the article we analyse the evolution of the Orlik programmewhich at the beginning was treated as a supplement to the country’s preparations for theUEFA Euro 2012, but quite unexpectedly contributed to the strengthening of social capitalin Poland. The research shows that the crucial factor of the functioning of Orlik pitcheswas the grassroots social and managerial potential of a newly created professional classof local sport instructors. The Orlik programme is also a case of institutional learning onthe side of central governmental institutions, such as the Ministry of Sport. The articlecontributes to the body of knowledge concerning the management of local sport infrastructurein the context of the relations between local and central authorities, and moregenerally, to the sociology of institutional and social change.
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