The functionalist theory focuses attention on how sports assists keep the society operating easily and influences individuals to contribute to the social system. From the Governments perspective it is easy to see that access and participation are intertwined; by providing more opportunities for people at all levels in sport, a number of participants will rise. From a functionalist approach, the Governments perspective is not sufficiently discriminatory, it overlooks certain problems such as age and gender issues that do not support the equilibrium in society. A functionalist approach leads to exaggerated statements about positive effects of sport, believing that anything that lasts is good and it fails to consider that sport could distort values. Functionalist theory is based on the assumption that the needs of the individuals in society reflect the needs of the social system, it assumes homogeneity of interests and the desire to maintain harmony which is not the case, not everyone in a society may want to play a certain sport, and functionalism cannot distinguish whether people actually want to play sport at all. The way the Government wants to promote sport is typically from a functionalist perspective and is the best sociological theory to use when promoting the sport. Different sociological theories help identify issues and problems and Coakley believe the best theories are the ones that make sense, so from the Governments point of view, a functionalist approach is ideal because it believes sport is an inspiration....
The Government aims to improve health and they identify how sport is a means of this, the approach to achieving this is predominantly a functionalist approach in that they believe sport is an inspiration and a precious contributor to health. The Government believes that if they increase opportunities and improve access to facilities for all people, then their goal of improved health will be attained.
Government's use of sport
From a functionalist perspective this would encourage participation from all areas of society regardless of sex, age, race, gender or class as the perspective does not discriminate against individuals. From a functionalist point of view the policy over-exaggerates the benefits of playing sport, and Coakley (2003, p.40) believes it doesn't address "the emphasis on physical power" which may show prejudice towards certain groups in society, and this is one of the reasons why women's sport has failed to be as big as men's, and one of the reasons why the Paralympic Games is not as big as the Olympics.
Development of sport in the UK
Although until relatively in recent times sport might have been described as a neglected subject in social analysis, the worth of sport in modern societies seems irrefutable. In financial terms sport is estimated to symbolize 3 per cent of GDP in the OECD countries. In cultural terms extra than two-thirds of the world's population saw a few part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games via television. In supporting terms sport has been engaged as a policy tool by country states, as for instance in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and in the Olympic Games' boycotts of the 1980s, or more lately in promoting the new or reviving patriotism of the post-communist Central along with Eastern