Рефераты. Sport in the UK

Sport in the UK




Written by Varlamova Anna

group 301

Checked by Makhmuryan K.





1. The social importance of sport

2. Football ( Football pools

3. Rugby

4. Cricket

5. Animals in Sport

6. Racing

7. Gambling

8. Wimbledon

9. Other Sports


. Questions

. The list of literature



have I chosen such theme? Sport is supposed to be interesting

only for men, not for women. But I think it is a mistaken opinion. Sport is

one of the most amusing things in the world, because of fillings,

experiences, excitements connected with it. Particularly it is so when we

speak about the UK.

Think of your favorite sport. Whatever it is, there is good chance

that it was first played in Britain, and an even better chance that its

modern rules were first codified in this country.

Sport probably plays a more important part in people’s life in Britain

than it does in most other countries. For a very large number it is their

main form of entertainment. Millions take part in some kind of sport at

least once a week. Many millions more are regular spectators and follow one

or more sports. There are hours of televised sport each week. Every

newspaper, national or local, quality or popular, devotes several pages

entirely to sport.

The British are only rarely the best in the world at particular sports

in modern times. However, they are one of the best in the world in a much

larger number of different sports than any other country (British

individualism at work again). My course paper looks at the most publicized

sports with the largest followings. But it should be noted that hundreds of

other sports are played in Britain , each with its own small but

enthusiastic following. Some of these may not be seen as a sport at all by

many people. For most people with large gardens, for example, croquet is

just an agreeable social pastime for a sunny afternoon. But to a few, it is

a deadly serious competition. The same is true of the game such as indoor

bowling, darts or snooker. Even board games, the kind you buy in a shop,

have their national championships. Think of any pastime, however trivial,

which involves some element of competition and, somewhere in Britain, there

is probably a ‘national association’ for it which organized contents.

The British are so fond of competition that they even introduced it

into gardening. Many people indulge in an informal rivalry with their

neighbors as to who can grow the better flowers or vegetables. But the

rivalry is sometimes formalized. Though the country, there are competitions

in which gardeners enter their cabbage, leeks, onions, carrots or whatever

in the hope that they will be judged ‘the best’. There is a similar

situation with animal. There hundreds of dog and cat shows throughout the

country at which owners hope that their pet will win a prize. There are a

lot of such specific kinds of sport in the United Kingdom but I want to

stop my thought on consideration of more widespread.



British are great lovers of competitive sports; and when they are neither

playing nor watching games they like to talk about them, or when they

cannot do that, to think about them. Modern sport in Britain is very

different. 'Winning isn't everything' and 'it's only a game' are still well-

known sayings which reflect the amateur approach of the past. But to modern

professionals, sport is clearly not just a game. These days, top players in

any sport talk about having a 'professional attitude' and doing their 'job'

well, even if, officially, their sport is still an amateur one. The middle-

class origins of much British sport means that it began as an amateur

pastime - a leisure-time activity which nobody was paid for taking part in.

Even in football, which has been played on a professional basis since 1885,

one of the first teams to win the FA (Football Association) Cup was a team

of amateur players (the Corinthians). In many other sports there has been

resistance to professionalism. People thought it would spoil the sporting

spirit. May be they are right.

The social importance of sport

The importance of participation in sport has legal recognition in

Britain. Every local authority has a duty to provide and maintain playing

fields and other facilities, which are usually very cheap to use and

sometimes even free. Spectator sport is also a matter of official public

concern. For example, there is a law which prevents the television rights

to the most famous annual sporting occasions, such as the Cup Final and the

Derby, being sold exclusively to satellite channels, which most people

cannot receive. In these cases it seems to be the event, rather than the

sport itself, which is important. Every year the Boat Race and the Grand

National are watched on television by millions of people who have no great

interest in rowing or horse-racing. Over time, some events have developed a

mystique which gives them a higher status than the standard at which they

are played deserves. In modern times, for example, the standard of rugby at

the annual Varsity Match has been rather low - and yet it is always shown

live on television.

Sometimes the traditions which accompany an event can seem as

important as the actual sporting contest. Wimbledon, for instance, is not

just a tennis tournament. It means summer fashions, strawberries and cream,

garden parties and long, warm English summer evenings. This reputation

created a problem for the event's organizers in 1993, when it was felt that

security for players had to be tightened. Because Wimbledon is essentially

a middle-class event, British tennis fans would never allow themselves to

be treated like football fans. Wimbledon with security fences, policemen on

horses and other measures to keep fans off the court? It just wouldn't be


The long history of such events has meant that many of them, and their

venues, have become world-famous. Therefore, it is not only the British who

tune in to watch. The Grand National, for example, attracts a television

audience of 300 million. This worldwide enthusiasm has little to do with

the standard of British sport. The cup finals of other countries often have

better quality and more entertaining football on view - but more Europeans

watch the English Cup Final than any other. The standard of British tennis

is poor, and Wimbledon is only one of the world's major tournaments. But if

you ask any top tennis player, you find that Wimbledon is the one they

really want to win. Every footballer in the world dreams of playing at

Wembley, every cricketer in the world of playing at Lord's. Wimbledon,

Wembley and Lord's are the 'spiritual homes' of their respective sports.

Sport is a British export!

There are a lot of sports in Britain today and of course, there is no

use in considering all of them. I try to make a short review of the most

famous in the world on the one hand and unusual sports on the other hand.

And the first one is the most popular game in the world:


Football is the most popular team game in Britain. The British

invented it and it has spread to every corner of the world. There is no

British team. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete

separately in European and World Cup matches. The English and Welsh clubs

have together formed a League with four divisions. The Scottish League has

three divisions. The champions of the English First Division, and the

Scottish Premier Division qualify to play in the European Cup competition.

British football has traditionally drawn its main following from the

working class. In general, the intelligentsia ignored it. But in the last

two decades of the twentieth century, it has started to attract wider

interest. The appearance of fanzines is an indication of this. Fanzines are

magazines written in an informal but often highly intelligent and witty

style, published by the fans of some of the clubs. One or two books of

literary merit have been written which focus not only on players, teams and

tactics but also on the wider social aspects of the game. Light-hearted

football programmes have appeared on television which similarly give

attention to 'off-the-field' matters. There has also been much academic

interest. At the 1990 World Cup there was a joke among English fans that it

was impossible to find a hotel room because they had all been taken by


Many team sports in Britain, but especially football, tend to be men-

only, 'tribal' affairs. In the USA, the whole family goes to watch the

baseball. Similarly, the whole family goes along to cheer the Irish

national football team. But in Britain, only a handful of children or women

go to football matches. Perhaps this is why active support for local teams

has had a tendency to become violent. During the 1970s and 1980s football

hooliganism was a major problem in England. In the 1990s, however, it

seemed to be on the decline. English fans visiting Europe are now no worse

in their behavior than the fans of many other countries.

For the great mass of the British public the eight months of the

football season are more important than the four months of cricket. There

are plenty of amateur association football (or 'soccer') clubs, and

professional football is big business. The annual Cup Final match, between

the two teams which have defeated their opponents in each round of a knock-

out contest, dominates the scene; the regular 'league' games, organised in

four divisions, provide the main entertainment through the season and the

basis for the vast system of betting on the football pools. Many of the

graffiti on public walls are aggressive statements of support for football

teams, and the hooliganism of some British supporters has become notorious

outside as well as inside Britain.

Football has been called the most popular game in the world, and it

certainly has a great many fans in Britain. And now I want to mention the

English terminology for football.

Association football (or soccer) is the game that is played in nearly

all countries. A team is composed of a goalkeeper, two backs, three half-

backs and five forwards.

Association football remains one of the most popular games played in

the British Isles. Every Saturday from late August until the beginning of

May, large crowds of people support their sides in football grounds up and

down the country, while an almost equally large number of people play the

game in clubs teams of every imaginable variety and level of skill. Over

the last 20 years though, the attendance at football matches has fallen

away sharply. This is because of changing lifestyles and football hooligans

about I have already written but I want to add that violence at and near

the football grounds increased, there was an ever-increasing tendency for

people to stay away, leaving the grounds to football fans.

After serious disturbances involving English supporters at the

European Cup Finals in Brussels in 1985 which led to the deaths of 38

spectators, English clubs were withdrawn from European competitions for the

1985-1986 season by the Football Association. The Cup Final at Wembley

remains, though, an event of national importance. Here is a drawing of a

football field, or "pitch", as it is usually called.

The football pitch should be between 100 and 130 metres long and between

50 and 100 metres wide. It is divided into two halves by the halfway line.

The sides of the field are called the touch-lines and the ends are called

the goal-lines. In the middle of the field there is a centre circle and

there is a goal at each end. Each goal is 8 metres wide and between 21/2

and 3 metres high. In front of each goal is the goal area and the penalty

area. There is a penalty spot inside the penalty area and a penalty arc

outside it. A game of football usually lasts for one and a half hours. At

half-time, the teams change ends. The referee controls the game. The aim of

each team is obviously to score as many goals as possible. If both teams

score the same number of goals, or if neither team scores any goals at all,

the result is a draw.

The final of the football competition takes place every May at the

famous Wembley stadium in London. Some of the best known clubs in England

are Manchester United, Liverpool and the Arsenal. In Scotland either

Rangers, Celtic or Aberdeen usually win the cup or the championship.

Today, many people are only interested in football because of the

pools and the chance of winning a lot of money.

Football pools

"Doing the pools" is a popular form of betting on football results

each week. It is possible to win more than half a million pounds for a few


The English have never been against a gamble though most of them know where

to draw the line and wisely refrain from betting too often. Since the war

the most popular form of gambling is no doubt that of staking a small sum

on the football pools. (The word "pool" is connected with the picture of

streams of money pouring into a common fund, or "pool" from which the

winners are paid after the firm has taken its expenses and profit.) Those

who do so receive every week from one of the pools firms a printed form; on

this are listed the week's matches. Against each match, or against a number

of them, the optimist puts down a I, a 2 or an x to show that he thinks the

result of the match will be a home win (stake on fun’s team), an away win

(stake on a team of opponent) or a draw. The form is then posted to the

pools firm, with a postal order or cheque for the sum staked (or, as the

firms say, "invested"). At the end of the week the results of the matches

are announced on television and published in the newspapers and the

"investor" can take out his copy of his coupon and check his forecast.


There is another game called rugby football, so called because it

originated at Rugby, a well-known English public school. In this game the

players may carry the ball. Rugby football (or 'rugger') is played with an

egg-shaped ball, which may be carried and thrown (but not forward). The

ball is passed from hand to hand rather than from foot to foot. If a player

is carrying the ball he may be 'tackled' and made to fall down. Each team

has fifteen players, who spend a lot of time lying in the mud or on top of

each other and become very dirty, but do not need to wear such heavily

protective clothing as players of American football.

There are two forms of rugby - Rugby Union, which is strictly amateur,

and Rugby League, played largely in the north, which is a professional

sport. Rugby Union has fifteen players, while Rugby League has thirteen,

but the two games are basically the same. They are so similar that somebody

who is good at one of them can quickly learn to become good at the other.

The real difference between them is a matter of social history. Rugby union

is the older of the two. In the nineteenth century it was enthusiastically

taken up by most of Britain's public schools. Rugby league split off from

rugby union at the end of the century. There are two versions of this fast

and aggressive ball game: rugby union and rugby league. Although it has now

spread to many of the same places in the world where rugby union is played

(rugby union is played at top level in the British Isles, France,

Australia, South Africa and New Zealand; also to a high level in North

America, Argentina, Romania and some Pacific islands). Rugby can be

considered the 'national sport' of Wales, New Zealand, Fiji, Western Samoa

and Tonga, and of South African whites. Its traditional home is among the

working class of the north of England, where it was a way for miners and

factory workers to make a little bit of extra money from their sporting

talents. Unlike rugby union, it has always been a professional sport.

Because of these social origins, rugby league in Britain is seen as a

working class sport, while rugby union is mainly for the middle classes.

Except in south Wales. There, rugby union is a sport for all classes, and

more popular than football. In Wales, the phrase 'international day' means

only one thing — that the national rugby team are playing. Since 1970, some

of the best Welsh players have been persuaded to 'change codes'. They are

'bought' by one of the big rugby league clubs, where they can make a lot of

money. Whenever this happens it is seen as a national disaster among the


Rugby union has had some success in recent years in selling itself to

a wider audience. As a result, just as football has become less exclusively

working class in character, rugby union has become less exclusively middle

class. In 1995- it finally abandoned amateurism. In fact, the amateur

status of top rugby union players had already become meaningless. They

didn't get paid a salary or fee for playing, but they received large

'expenses' as well as various publicity contracts and paid speaking

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