The Implementation of the Welsh Language within National Governing Bodies of Sport in Wales
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The 'Welsh Language Act 1993' passed by the UK Government states that every public body within Wales must provide their services bilingually to the public. This act covered services such as Post Offices, the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency as well as Leisure Centres and other sporting services. The National Governing Bodies for sport in Wales were also included under this Act. In 2003 the Welsh Assembly Government published a Iaith Pawb action plan to reiterate their aims to 'create a truly bilingual Wales' (Iaith Pawb, 2003). The aim of this research was to discover what the National Governing Bodies have achieved in attempts to create the 'bilingual Wales' mentioned in Iaith Pawb (2003). In this qualitative research, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key personnel from three National Governing Bodies in Wales who held different sporting profiles. These sports were the Welsh Rugby Union, Welsh Hockey Union and Welsh Gymnastic. Three other key personnel were interviewed, the Senior Officer of the Welsh Language from the Sport Council for Wales, the Senior Sport Policy Development Manager from the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Sport Development Manager from the URDD. The semi-structured interviews were all recorded and transcribed to which themes were highlighted and compared against each other and against the schemes and documents found in the literature review. The results from the interviews showed that the Sport Council of Wales used their position as the main sponsors of smaller National Governing Bodies influencing their attitudes towards the use of the Welsh language. This showed more change in facilitating the Welsh language within their organisation. In contrast, it was found that larger organisations who were considered to be complex found it harder to change and implement the Welsh language on all levels of their organisation. The findings show that change towards the implementation of the Welsh language is being done and that the Sport Council of Wales are clearly working from the bottom up, in regards to size and complexity of National Governing Bodies within Wales.
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