"Sociologists who use functionalist theory assume that society is an organized system of interrelated parts held together by shared values and processes that create consensus among people" (Coakley, 1998, p.32)From a functionalist perspective a consensus containing shared norms and values is vital to the functioning of society as order flows from consensus. A sporting example of this is a football team, the players and staff want to win (shared norms and values) and they are willing to help each other out to achieve this, thus the whole team and staff contribute.A functionalist approach is popular with sociologists aiming to try and preserve the status quo in society. they believe that anything that may upset the balance such as disharmony or exclusion is rejected. From a functionalist view, sport is used to promote common values held essential to the integration and development of a society. McPherson, Curtis, and Loy (1989, p.102) believe that "all groups strive to maintain the social order, and that sport can facilitate this process". Functionalists want to show how the sport is a valuable contributor to social stability that benefits society as well as individuals because from a functionalist perspective sport would be seen to help integration within society as it gives people something in common with strangers, and strengthens their relationship with friends.
The Government aims to improve health and they identify how the 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.
.The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has laid out policies and objectives for sport and their main objective is to increase participation in sport and physical activity across the whole population.