Faith in sport integrity is declining

Photo: Chris Evans/Flickr

Photo: Chris Evans/Flickr


By Mads A. Wickstrøm
A multitude of corruption and doping scandals have left a mark on public confidence in sport, surveys reveal.

Recent research on public trust in sport published by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) on July 10, reveals that nearly half of British adults say high-profile stories on doping in sport make them believe the problem is widespread.

“It's worrying that so many people are losing their trust in the integrity of sport because of stories they see in the media, which are making them believe doping is more widespread than it actually is,” UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said, according to the BBC.

“We are at a critical point in the fight against doping and unless action is stepped-up across all sports, at all levels, to help us fight the cheats, we may find that both sports audiences and participation decrease in the future,” Sapstead warned.

The results of the research commissioned by UKAD and conducted by ComRes, is supported by a recent report by the Brewery at freuds finding doping scandals as the main drivers of a declining public confidence in sports such as cycling and athletics. In the survey conducted by Brewery at freuds, 31 percent of the respondents believe that doping is a widespread problem in cycling, while 38 percent say doping is a major problem in athletics.

Brewery at freuds conducted a survey of more than 2000 people in Britain, and found that trust in the sport industry has declined in the last 12 months. The research was part of a report on the power and future of sport published on July 5.

A blow to the integrity of football

Furthermore, the results indicate that fans have the least amount of trust in football, with more than 30 percent saying they do not trust the sport at all – as a result of the corruption scandals surrounding FIFA, British newspaper the Guardian writes.

More than 70 percent of the respondents of the survey carried out by Brewery at freuds agreed that sports are increasingly concerned about profit, and less concerned about providing enjoyment and entertainment for their fans. 25 percent said that this makes them less likely to attend a match and in addition, 30 percent stated that they are less likely to purchase merchandise.

One of the reasons for the lack of confidence is the perceived detachment between spectators and the multimillionaire players on the pitch.

“They’re a bunch of overpaid ‘tossers’. I grew up watching a bunch of local lads who had come from nothing. Now they’re not local any more, they don’t care,” one surveyed stated.

“I don’t think I’ll ever go again. When I used to go as a kid, the atmosphere was electric. Now there’s so much money in it, it doesn’t feel real anymore,” another said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Tanni Grey-Thompson, who contributed to the report, concluded that: “Sport has to work harder than ever to safeguard its reputation and to maintain the special relationship it has with fans. This report demonstrates that this is a time of huge change – and opportunity – across the industry. It is vital we all continue to examine what more needs to be done.”



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