New Sport Integrity Forum receives backing from DCMS following UKAD research

UKAD has today released research from Swansea University with recommendations which include establishing a Sport Integrity Forum and creating a Sport Integrity Strategy. The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) has already agreed to establish this forum and report on progress to Ministers on an annual basis.

UKAD commissioned Swansea University to undertake research across the sport sector to identify if issues of integrity, such as match-fixing, safeguarding, corruption, misconduct or doping are linked, and investigate if there are benefits to sport working closely on minimising the threat of these issues.

UKAD Chair Trevor Pearce said: “Anti-doping is just one issue where the integrity of sport is under threat. Safeguarding, discrimination, match-fixing and organisational corruption are all threats to the values we hold dear in sport. As an organisation which lives and breathes the fight for integrity in sport, UKAD wants to bring together a coalition of organisations to start to address and combat sport’s wider problems, with a single effort.”

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Protecting the integrity of sport is paramount and I welcome today's report. Our new Sport Integrity Forum will bring together organisations from across the sector to discuss some of the most complex challenges facing sport today. This will help to ensure that the UK continues to defend and strengthen the integrity of the sports we love.”

The study produced by Swansea University revealed that an overwhelming majority (75%) of sport organisations had an integrity function. There was a disparity in funding; some sports bodies have committed over £2 million a year to integrity issues, while over half the sports surveyed had less than £10,000 per year to fund dedicated integrity functions.

Other key findings from the report:

  • With multiple definitions of sport integrity currently in use, a new industry-wide definition is needed, and could incorporate personal, competition and organisational integrity to cover a full range of issues classified as integrity

  • Various individuals, teams and organisations within sport are dealing with issues and tasks relating to integrity differently both internally and externally

  • A sector wide integrity strategy could be beneficial in establishing structures and partnerships in sport to enable knowledge and practice sharing

Lead author, Professor Mike McNamee, Swansea University commented: “Establishing a clear and agreed definition of sport integrity is a good starting point in minimising the threats and issues to sport’s integrity. It’s important to identify the full range of the elements that could affect the industry and its stakeholders within the definition before moving to create a strategy. An industry-wide strategy can then be used to unify tactics internally and externally and tackle the issues as they emerge.”

The findings were used to create a map of the sport integrity landscape in the UK, resulting in 24 recommendations for future governance including: the formation of a UK-wide Sport Integrity Forum, the development of a Sport Integrity Education Strategy, the formation of a practice-sharing criteria and partnership within sport based on threats and resource levels, and an agreement on an operational definition for sport integrity.

The ‘Integrity in Sport: Mapping the UK Landscape’ report serves as a starting point to identify and minimise issues and threats affecting the integrity of sport. Wider research is required to explore issues around discrimination in sport and integrity in competition.

DCMS will host a Sport Integrity Forum with a workplan directed by a Sport Integrity Steering Group. The secretariat for these groups will be provided by DCMS, reporting to the Minister for Sport. The Steering Group will now meet virtually in September 2020 due to government guidelines on social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Trevor Pearce continued: “We know that the wrong sort of behaviour can happen in sport and if it happens once in one area, it’s likely that there might be links to another area of concern. UKAD has regular dialogue with its counterparts, but there is always more that can be done. I think it’s vital that all bodies in sport who work on an issue of integrity can come together regularly to share information and can work together on mutually useful projects.

“We are pleased that DCMS has agreed to host a Sport Integrity Forum where we can have these discussions and that we can all work together with the aim of creating a sport wide integrity strategy.”

You can read the full report below.