Sport in Gylias
Sports in Gylias are popular and diverse, having an important role in Gylian society. Based on information from the 2015 census, approximately 70% of the population actively takes part in sports activities on a weekly basis, and 27% of the total population are members of a sports club.
The varied landscape and climate of Gylias, as well as its size, allow for a variety of sports to be played. The most popular sport is association football, and other popular sports include volleyball, basketball, tennis and badminton, swimming, cycling, and chess. Overall, Gylians gravitate towards team sports, but some individual sports have a notable following, including gymnastics, martial arts, and figure skating.
The organisation of sports in Gylias is based on a distinctive democratic and populist ethos. The umbrella organisation of Gylian sports is the Gylian Sports Confederation (GSC), whose membership includes the national organisations of all sports played at a significant level.
The first sports clubs were established during the Gylian ascendancy, as part of a process by which Gylians formed a common identity and built up a network of independent institutions that resisted Xevdenite rule in the 19th century.
Sports experienced accelerated development in Alscia and the Free Territories. They became significant for leisure, and were embraced by communities as a means to keep up morale during the Liberation War. Further organisation took place as sports federations were established, rules were unified, and clubs developed better coordination. Many clubs were affiliated with trade unions, voluntary associations, and other community organisations.
Following independence in 1958, governing bodies for Gylian sports were established, with the GSC serving as the national confederation. The Darnan Cyras government adopted a Lagrangian framework for sports policies, emphasising the development of popular leisure, amateurism, accessibility, and democratic values. This framework has continued to the present day, and exercised a significant influence on sports in Gylias.
Sports further benefited from close cooperation between the GSC and NRO built since 1958.
Significant upgrading, expansion, and construction of sports and recreational facilities took place as part of infrastructural public works projects during the Golden Revolution and as part of the Mathilde Vieira government's economic stimulus program.
The Gylian Sports Confederation is the umbrella organisation of sports, with all sports federations being members of the organisation. In addition to governing and organising sports, the GSC also involves itself in promoting cultural activities and community work.
Sports in Gylias do not use league systems or tournaments. Sporting events are instead organised as exhibition games, in which scores and winning or losing are downplayed to instead focus on the enjoyment of the players and the audience. Awards and trophies are not given or officially recognised, while prize money for a win is restricted.
GSC regulations include a specific system governing team names, intended to prevent the concentration of sports in large cities, and encourage clubs and teams to be set up throughout Gylias. Large cities with multiple clubs per sport generally follow the practice of having them named after their respective neighbourhoods.
Sports clubs are organised as cooperatives, the majority being legally constituted as associations. They are fan-owned and democratically run by their members, who have equal voting rights and own one share in the club each. Clubs can have one coach or a cadre of coaches — generally former players —, either of which are elected by the players.
The majority of sportspersons are amateur or semi-professional. The GSC has strongly resisted professionalisation of sports, and defends the ideal of playing for enjoyment rather than monetary gain. Advertising and sponsorship are strictly banned from sports venues or equipment.
Sports are entirely gender-integrated, and clubs and teams are not allowed to form separate teams based on sex or gender. Official GSC policies also prevent clubs from being used for political promotions.
As a result of the fan-owned model, absence of tournaments, strong federation- and club-enforced sanctions against offensive behaviour, and strict rules and enforcement against doping, Gylian sports have a distinctive good-natured atmosphere, and a longstanding record of sportsmanship and predominant absence of cheating.
The norm for sports clubs is to be fan-financed. Various sources of funding exist, including:
- One-time membership fees.
- Direct debit payments from fans to the clubs.
- Sales of team-related merchandise.
- Ticket sales for fixtures, split evenly between the venue and the participating teams.
- Donations, commonly done by wealthy Gylians through the Social Partnership Program.
- Grants by federal and local governments.
- Publicly-owned and officially regulated betting pools.
The betting pools, based on the model of football pools, have limited stakes and rely on predicting the results of sports fixtures. Since the bookmaker is publicly-owned, official pools do not charge a take. Any profit accumulated into a GSC fund that is distributed to all clubs in the respective sport equally.
The GSC collectively negotiates sports broadcasting rights and contracts, with the resulting income being distributed to all federations (and thus clubs) equally, and maintains a reserve fund to assist players and clubs in financial difficulties.
The most popular sport in Gylias is football. Gylian football teams are famous for their use of total football tactics and eccentricities, the latter resulting from the largely undemanding, easygoing, and crowd-pleasing character of Gylian football. The Gylian national football team has won two Tyran Cups and finished in the top four on 5 occasions in total. Gylias also hosted the Tyran Cup in 1972.
Volleyball enjoys a significant Gylian following, attributed to the country's climate and concentration of population along coasts and waterways. Beach volleyball and water volleyball are more popular than their indoor counterpart.
Handball's popularity in Gylias is largely due to its similarities to football and basketball. It is not unheard of for football or basketball players to also play in handball teams as a hobby.
Basketball experienced a growth in popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. Streetball is more popular than its formal counterpart, with an emphasis on fast-paced playing, passing, and entertainment.
Water polo is popular due to its perceived combination of football and swimming. Water polo rules and practice in Gylias have a heavier influence from football.
Hockey in Gylias encompasses ice hockey, which is mainly popular in the mountainous areas of the north, and non-winter versions such as field hockey, floor hockey, and roller hockey, which are more widespread in the rest of the country. Gylian hockey is notable for its complete ban on violence and fighting.
Swimming is one of the most popular individual sports in Gylias. The country's long coastlines, numerous rivers, and widespread public swimming pools are significant contributors to the sport's popularity.
Other water sports, including sailing, rowing, canoeing, yachting, power boating, and surfing, also enjoy significant popularity, contributing to the association between Gylias and water sports. While somewhat limited by unfavourable wind conditions. surfing has had a role in Gylian pop culture: surf rock was crucial in popularising rock music in Gylias during the 1960s, and surf culture has been easy to accommodate with Gylian spirituality and the environmentalist movement.
Cycling is highly popular in Gylias — as a sport, for recreation, and as a means of transport. Gylias holds the annual long-distance cycling race Tour d'Gylias, which takes place each July and lasts four weeks. Both in terms of crowd attendance and televised viewers, the Tour is one of Gylias' most popular sporting events. Its annually-revised circuits through Gylias have been credited with solidifying the diverse national identity and stimulating rural development.
In addition, regions commonly organise their own regional races as well.
Skiing and other winter sports have been able to develop due to the mountainous terrain of northern and eastern Gylias. Their popularity has grown since the 1980s, coinciding with a development of the winter tourism sector.
Similar sports such as snowboarding, ski jumping, sledding, bobsleigh, and luge, also have a following.
Athletics and gymnastics
Dance has a long tradition in Gylian culture, chiefly due to the influence of Concordianism and its use of movement and dance as symbols and means of worship. This influence has contributed to the growth of the disciplines of gymnastics — particularly artistic and rhythmic — and figure skating, which enjoy significant popularity in Gylias. The practice draws influence from Gylian aesthetics, in championing grace and elegance of movement, as well as influences from Cacertian and Kirisakian culture.
Athletics are also popular in Gylias and have seen some notable success at the international level.
Tennis is very popular in Gylias, as well as related sports badminton and table tennis. Table tennis is commonly played in informal situations, with significantly looser rules that de-emphasise scoring in favour of speed and continuous play without interruptions.
Motorsports are popular in Gylias, particularly motorcycle racing and auto racing. The latter serves as a notable outlet for car use, construction, and modification, in the context of Gylian transport policies aimed at discouraging mass use of automobiles. There are a few permanent race tracks, notable for being concentrated in smaller cities that have sought to use them to boost tourism and the local economy. Each region has its own road racing circuits and organises its annual events, known as "Grand Prix".
Rallying, off-road racing, drag racing, and motocross have notable followings within the field. Since the 1990s, racing events have moved towards electric motorsport, using entirely electric vehicles, motorcycles and scooters.
Gylian motorsport is known for its emphasis on low-cost organisation and opportunities for amateur, less experienced, and young drivers to develop their skills.
Martial arts were introduced to Gylias through cultural contact with Kirisaki, and have grown in popularity since the 1970s. The practice of martial arts in Gylias emphasises the spiritual and self-discipline aspects of training rather than the combat side. Public demonstrations and matches are characterised by a non-competitive and sporting character. Since the 2000s, parkour and freerunning have undergone similar developments.
Rezy is the unique form of professional wrestling that emerged during the Golden Revolution. Rezy incorporates influences from Miranian martial arts, Akashian puroresu and Megelanese folk wrestling, emphasising theatrics, colourful characters, and agility. Rezy matches are highly athletic and disciplined affairs, incorporating martial arts techniques, visually impressive moves, and storytelling based on the adversary–enemy distinction and wicked–evil distinction.
Roller derby has achieved significant popularity as a contact sport, and there is an overlap between the roller derby and rezy worlds. Gylian roller derby is notable for its DIY spirit, tight-knit sports community, generally female-dominated teams, and colourful derby names and other theatrical elements influenced by rezy.
Sports perceived as excessively competitive or violent, such as rugby, gridiron football, and boxing, are significantly less popular in Gylias.
Gylias is known for its experimental and eclectic tendencies in sports. Certain hybrid sports have been developed through attempts to combine different sports, most notably through use of roller skates or playing in water or on the beach.