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Journal of Law and Society. Volume 15 (2008), p. 263-278.


Few matters seem to arouse greater feeling than local politics and sport. Each reflects and reinforces common qualities of robust partisanship and vigorous exercise. When the two combine, tempers are guaranteed to run very high. This unpropitious state of affairs occurred in Leicester in the spring of 1984. The city of Leicester has a significant and established black community, about twenty-five per cent of the population are of Asian or Afro-Caribbean origins. Leicester City Council was firmly committed to racial equality. In particular, it supported the Gleneagles Agreement made in 1977 between Commonwealth countries which encouraged "taking every practical step to discourage contact with sporting organisations from South Africa". When the English rugby team organised a tour to South Africa and selected three Leicester: players, the council considered the gauntlet to be thrown firmly at its feet. The council allowed the Leicester Rugby Football Club to use a recreation ground for Second XV matches and general training, the First XV played elsewhere.

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