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Local sports clubs and associations are often as segregated as the neighbourhood they are in, suggests a new study. It says that rather than encouraging a mixing of different cultures, they may even reinforce rather than mitigate existing ethnic divisions in local communities.

Ethnic groups and local clubs Dasha Petrenko

Photo: www.shutterstock.com 

The research, published in the American Sociological Review, focuses on how Turkish and Moroccan immigrants have integrated in the Netherlands in the last decade by looking at joining and leaving rates for sports, leisure and neighbourhood associations of different ethnic composition. It finds that Dutch natives are far more likely to join organisations that contain no members from ethnic minorities than organisations with even just a small number, while immigrants and ethnic minorities join clubs that are similarly segregated. This leaves little room for people from different ethnic groups to mix with one another, says the study. It also finds that Turkish and Moroccan immigrants have higher dropout rates from clubs and associations than Dutch natives, even though their joining rates are similar, and urges policymakers to identify specific measures that could keep people of all backgrounds involved.

Read more on the University website (opens new window)