Each society established its own set of norms, values and beliefs. It is these that have caused societies to change and develop over time creating ideologies of inequality, prejudice and segregation. Often the beliefs of a population stem from the hegemonic group within that society, and others possessing less social status are pressured into conforming as a result. This process is evident within the sporting world as society repeatedly forces discrimination and segregation based on socio-economic or physical differences as dictated by the hegemonic group. Class is possibly the greatest creator of inequality. We have seen how several mainstream sports can be analysed in terms of shifts and continuities in the social context in which they have emerged, prospered or declined. Their fate has been determined essentially due to material social and economic factors, and the human cultural response to those influences (Horne, Tomlinson & Whannel, 1999). Sports participation is not a matter of personal choice, of individual preference. It depends upon the financial resources available to the potential participant, the social status of those prominent in that activity, and the cultural meaning of a sport and the individual’s relationship to those meanings. The recruitment and induction processes into, say, golf and tennis clubs bear testimony to this. Take the apparently open-minded and egalitarian basis of a newcomer presenting herself at a tennis club. In order to do this the aspirant must communicate competently with the gate-keepers of a club; read the social interactions and etiquette and conventions of a club; comply with the dress code; be equipped with relatively sophisticated technology (she would be unlikely to get far with a wooden Dunlop Maxply in 2001); and be able to play at a level of acceptable competence (Horne, Tomlinson & Whannel, 1999). While it is evident that upper classes thrive on being members of exclusive clubs that for others were financially inaccessible such as the England Tennis Club at Wimbledon (Sleap, 1998). The middle classes established their own clubs, although they experienced less leisure time in which to enjoy the activities. However, they did receive subsidised sporting access via the old boy network. The working class endured the roughest deal. For them the term meritocracy never existed.

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