Chapter 6. Ethnicity matters 135 is mostly positively motivated, future research should study whether this is the case or not. The line between these forms of sorting is, however, blurry. For example, ethnic discrimination is not a seldom occurrence in amateur football and direct experiences with such practices or even the mere knowledge of their existence may drive minority members to seek out ethnic peers. Furthermore, when members are able to predominantly form ties with comembers that have the same ethnic background, they, at the same time, constrain tie-formation for members with other backgrounds. This may in turn lead to the dissolution of membership and drive members to greener pastures, but we would probably not call such choices positively motivated. More insight into the motivations and expectations that underly the dynamics of membership tie-formation and dissolution is therefore highly needed. 6.6 Closing remarks In this dissertation I have explored and studied the relationship between ethnic background and membership. Over the past years, I’ve come to realize that some may find the outcomes of my research, particularly the finding that ethnic heterogeneity weakens membership ties, uncomfortable. I want to therefore emphasize that this dissertation is by no means a case for cynicism about ethnic heterogeneity in sports or multicultural society as a whole. All over the country and world, in and outside sports, people from various backgrounds come together and realize beautiful things. This is no different for Dutch amateur football, which is growing ever more ethnically diverse. Moreover, on closer inspection there are several causes for optimism. Firstly, my research does not find any proof for irreconcilable cultural differences. Given the right circumstances, citizens with migrant background are just as likely to involve themselves in this type of voluntary associations as citizens with Dutch backgrounds. Secondly, ethnic minority participation in the Netherlands’ most popular organized sports has been steadily growing over time with some ethnic groups showing equal or even higher participation figures than citizens with Dutch backgrounds. These facts stem hopeful for the future of amateur football and civil society as a whole.