The Social Phenomenon of Football: The transformation of the public sports policy:
politics, grassroots management and social capital
of the Orlik programme in Poland

Renata Włoch 1, Aleksandra Gołdys 1
1 - Uniwersytet Warszawski
2015; 16 (4):
ICID: 1188587
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
In 2008–2013 the Polish local authorities, with the financial support of the central and
regional authorities, built 2604 small sport facilities all around the country. This kind of
public 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) is
unparalleled in any other country, so from the scientific perspective can be treated as an
exceptional experiment. It is also impossible to compare this policy to any other – since
nowadays vast majority of the big public investments in sport focus on stadiums (Hallman
2013). We propose that those sport facilities be treated as new institutions introduced
top-down in specific social and political reality and that the process of their development
in 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 programme
which at the beginning was treated as a supplement to the country’s preparations for the
UEFA Euro 2012, but quite unexpectedly contributed to the strengthening of social capital
in Poland. The research shows that the crucial factor of the functioning of Orlik pitches
was the grassroots social and managerial potential of a newly created professional class
of local sport instructors. The Orlik programme is also a case of institutional learning on
the side of central governmental institutions, such as the Ministry of Sport. The article
contributes to the body of knowledge concerning the management of local sport infrastructure
in the context of the relations between local and central authorities, and more
generally, to the sociology of institutional and social change.
DOI: 10.5604/20842937.1188587

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