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Can Sports Diplomacy lead to Peace?

Politics and Sports or sports diplomacy describes the use of sport as a means to influence diplomatic, social, and political relations. Sports diplomacy may transcend cultural differences and bring people together.

Some examples of sports diplomacy are following:

 

  • PING PONG DIPLOMACY

The U.S. table tennis delegation in China

 

Ping pong diplomacy refers to the exchange of table tennis (ping-pong) players between the United States and People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the early 1970s.

Closing relationship with each other after 1950 Korean war in 1950. After 20 years of neither diplomatic nor economic relations, in 1970 both countries finally saw an advantage in opening up to each other through ping-pong .

 

 

  • FOOTBALL DIPLOMACY

TURKISH & ARMENIAN 

In September 2008 when Turkey’s president, Abdullah Gul, became the first modern Turkish leader to visit Armenia, for a football World Cup qualifier.  A full deal seemed imminent in April when the two countries initialed a preliminary agreement, including a plan to reopen the border. This was sealed by the Turks in 1993 in solidarity with their Azeri cousins during Azerbaijan’s short, sharp war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan (which Armenia won).

ARGENTINA AND UNITED KINGDOM

In the 1986 Mexico World Cup, following the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom, Diego Maradona scored a goal via the “Hand of God” to fuel the flames between the two sides To make matters worse, this was an unrecognized foul using the hand to score a goal.

IRAN AND AMERICA

At the 1998 FIFA World Cup, held in France, Iran recorded their first World Cup victory in the second game, beating the United States 2–1, with Estili and Mahdavikia scoring goals for Iran. The match was preheated with much excitement because of each country’s political stance after the Iranian revolution; however, in an act of defiance against all forms of hatred or politics in sports, both sides presented one another with gifts and flowers and stood together for a photograph before the match kicked-off.

CHINA QATAR 

Qatar and china are keen to bring world football centre of gravity towards asia. It was announced that the 2022 world cup final venue will be jointly constructed by Qatar and China .

EAST GERMANY AND WEST GERMANY 1974

 During the World Cup in West Germany 1974, the host country is to meet with East Germany in the first round. The game takes place in a peaceful context.

MOSCOW OLYMPICS 1980

Due to the soviet invasion of Afghanistan 1979, 60 countries including United States do not participate in the Moscow Olympics.

JAPAN AND SOUTH KOREA

Japanese Prince Takamado attends the opening ceremony OF world cup 2002 in Seoul. This is the first official visit to South korea by member of japanese imperial family since world war 2.

  • CRICKET DIPLOMACY

Cricket diplomacy consists of using the game of cricket as a political tool to enhance or worsen the diplomatic relations between two cricket playing nations. Cricket is the second-most widely played game in the world after football, and is thus used as a political tool to bridge the gap in the diplomatic vacuüm.

INDiA AND PAKISTAN

Cricket is very popular sport both in Pakistan and india. Cricket is used many time in past to enhance the diplomatic relation between Pakistan and india .

1987 GENERAL ZIA UL HAQ

In 1987 general Zia ul Haq attended a test match between Pakistan and india in Jaipur.

Rajeev Gandhi’s special advisor “Behramnam” in his article on Zia ul Haq visit to India. He quotes;

“General Zia-ul-Haq arrived in Delhi for cricket match as a spectator without any invitation. At that time Rajeev Gandhi was not ready to meet him at the airport. Indian troops were waiting for the PM’s orders on the Rajasthan sector to invade into Pakistani territory. In such situation it was improper to meet General Zia-ul-Haq. But opposition leaders and cabinet members were of the view that if arrived Pakistani leader has arrived in delhi without any invitation (from here he had to departure for Chennai for cricket match), it will against diplomatic values not to meet him and will cause misunderstanding about Indian leadership on the international level. On our demand Rajeev Gandhi got ready to go to Delhi airport, he coldly shook hands with General Zia-ul-Haq without making any eye contact. Rajeev said to me, “General has to go to Chennai for cricket match, so accompany him and take care of him”. Bhagwan knows how strong was that man, in spite of insulting behavior of Gandhi, Zia kept smiling.
Before departure for Chennai General Zia-ul-Haq while saying good-bye to Gandhi said, “Mr. Rajeev you want to attack Pakistan, do it. But keep in mind after this world will forget Hilaku Khan and Changez Khan and will remember only Zia-ul-Haq and Rajeev Gandhi. Because this will not be conventional war but nuclear war. Possibly whole Pakistan might be destroyed in this was but Muslims will be still there, however after destruction of India, Hinduism will be vanished”. In spite of cold drops of perspiration were visible on Gandhi’s forehead. I felt sensation in my backbone. These were only few moments when Zia-ul-Haq looked a dangerous man, his face was stern his eyes showed that he will do whatever he is saying no matter whole sub continent is burnt to ashes in nuclear war. I was astonished, after warning, in the blink of eye Zia-ul-Haq brought his smile; he warmly shook hands with other hosts. Except me and Rajeev Gandhi no one was aware that Zia-ul-Haq looking very happy and in light mood has created trouble for Indian PM by threatening him of nuclear war”.

1999 PAKISTAN TOUR TO INDIA

In 1999 Hindu extremists dug up the pitch in new Delhi to protest against Pakistan team visit, it was reaction of KARGIL war.

2005 GENERAL PERVEZ MUSHARRAF VISIT

Musharraf in 2005 visit india to watch a Cricket match and met Manmohan Singh Prime Minister of india to revive talks on Kashmir.

2011 WORLD CUP SEMI FINAL  

Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s visit to india to watch Pakistan and india Semi Final of WC cricket 2011 .Pakistan India both are nuclear power but, cricket is playing an important role to reduce tension between two nations .

About cricket the Victoria Nuland the state department spokesperson said, that Americans generally don’t know much about cricket, but they like it when Pakistan and India play against each other.

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