The Italian "sport popolare" has its origins in the early post-war period, when Palmiro Togliatti’s Italian communist party launched the Unione italiana sport popolare (Uisp), to promote sports activities among the youth masses. However, the emergence of a separate sports organization under the banner of the identity and values of the workers’ movement was not a novelty in the wider European context. "Workers’ sport" organizations, pitting themselves against official "bourgeois" sport, had in fact emerged in many European countries - especially the German-speaking ones - from the end of the 19th century. This article attempts to contextualize the genesis of the Uisp within the broader trajectory of European workers’ sport, with the aim of not only highlighting its specific features but also capturing the elements of continuity that lead up to the present.
Keywords: Popular sport, Workers’ sport, Communism, Socialism, Workers’ movement