New survey shows that doping is causing parents to consider if sport is safe for kids

  • Doping is rated the second most concerning issue in UK sport

  • A quarter of people said news about doping in sport makes them reconsider allowing children to participate in, or watch or follow sporting competitions

  • UKAD is bringing sport together for Clean Sport Week 2021 with its ‘Ready for the Games’ campaign as sport prepares to return this summer

A new survey commissioned by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) reveals that doping in sport has a broader impact on the public than previously imagined. Questions about sport’s integrity are causing parents to have doubts about its safety for children, with over half of the respondents ranking doping (52%) as the second most concerning issue in UK sport. The research found that a quarter* (25%) of people said that news about doping left them reconsidering whether to allow their children to participate in sports, or even to watch and support it.

Everyone in sport, especially athletes, has a responsibility to keep sport clean, not only for themselves but for the wider sporting community, including other athletes, supporters, as well as young people.

UKAD is working with National Governing Bodies (NGBs) and sports organisations to embed anti-doping education as a mandatory requirement for all UK athletes, and parents of athletes under the age of 18 from grassroots to elite level. As part of its Assurance Framework and Clean Games Policy, tailored anti-doping education courses and workshops will be offered to athletes, parents and other support personnel within sports organisations.

Speaking on the survey findings, UKAD Director of Strategy and Education Emily Robinson said: “Our Ready for the Games campaign for Clean Sport Week highlights how important anti-doping education and clean competition is, not only for sports as it returns this summer, but also for its future. Doping cheats should view the results of our survey as a wake-up call because their failure to demonstrate good sportsmanship and fair play negatively impact aspiring sportspeople.

“We provide free resources to teach young people the values of sport with our Spirit of Sport programme to inspire budding athletes to consider a future in sport. Furthermore, our anti-doping courses equip parents with the vital tools and knowledge they need to support athletes under 18.

“People who are concerned about sport’s integrity and its safety for children shouldn’t be discouraged by the actions of a few. Governing bodies and sports organisations are working hard behind the scenes to help us remove cheats and keep sport clean. We are also working together to educate athletes on anti-doping earlier in the pathway into sports.”

Free anti-doping e-Learning courses and education are available online via UKAD’s Clean Sport Hub and 100% me app (download from the Apple App Store and Google Play store). The Clean Sport Hub is the epicentre for all anti-doping e-learning resources. Register and take the Coach Clean course, recently updated with the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code. New courses, such as Introduction to Clean Sport will be launched later this year and will be tailored to specific roles in sport with optional scenarios-based modules.

Ready for the Games

The theme of this year’s Clean Sport Week is Ready for the Games. UKAD is ready for sport to make its comeback this summer following its hiatus due to the pandemic.

UKAD continues to support sport as it prepares for the long-awaited return of competitions. Everyone is gathering virtually during Clean Sport Week to celebrate.

Research methodology

This survey was conducted by Censuswide, among a sample of 2,138 general respondents in the UK who follow sports (aged 16+). Fieldwork was carried out between 23-26 March 2021. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

*This finding combines respondents who said, ‘It makes me think twice about allowing my children to participate in elite sport’ and ‘It makes me think twice about allowing my children to watch/follow sport’ to the corresponding statement.