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Gleneagles Agreement


Peter Bromhead, 'Aren't you pinning this on the wrong bloke', 22 July 1981. This cartoon shows Robert Muldoon giving a death certificate to a man representing the Gleneagles Agreement while on the floor a man, representing New Zealand's reputation, is dying by suicide with a sword labelled 'the tour'.

The Gleneagles Agreement on sporting contacts with South Africa

The member countries of the Commonwealth embrace peoples of diverse races, colours, languages and faiths, and they have long recognised racial prejudice and discrimination as dangerous sicknesses and unmitigated evils. Members are pledged to use all their efforts to foster human dignity everywhere. At their London meeting, the heads of government reaffirmed that apartheid in sport, as in other fields, was an abomination and ran directly counter to the Declaration of Commonwealth Principles, which they made at Singapore on 22 January 1971.

They were conscious that sport is an important means of developing and fostering understanding between people, and especially between young people, of all countries. But, they were also aware that sporting contacts with countries practising apartheid in sport tended to encourage the belief that they were prepared to condone this abhorrent policy or were less than totally committed to the principles embodied in their Singapore Declaration. 

They reaffirmed their full support for the international campaign against apartheid and welcomed the efforts of the United Nations to reach universally accepted approaches to the question of sporting contacts within the framework of that campaign.

They accepted that it was the urgent duty of their governments to combat vigorously the evil of apartheid by withholding support for and by discouraging contact or competition with sporting organisations, teams or sportsmen from South Africa or from any other country where sports are organised on the basis of race, colour or ethnic origin.

They acknowledged that each government should determine how it might best carry out these commitments. But they recognised that fulfilling their commitments was essential to the harmonious development of Commonwealth sport in the future.

To be able to completely meet the objectives of the agreement needed the understanding, support and active participation of the countries, their people and of their national sporting organisations and authorities. The members issued a collective call for this understanding, support and participation to be put into practice to ensure that the people and governments of the Commonwealth would lead the world on this issue.

Heads of government specially welcomed the belief, unanimously expressed at their meeting, that there were unlikely to be future sporting contacts of any significance between Commonwealth countries or their nationals and South Africa while that country pursued apartheid policies. On that basis, they looked forward to the holding of the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton and to the continued strengthening of Commonwealth sport generally.


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-322-068
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Gleneagles Agreement, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated