16
DEFINING SPORTS INTEGRITY
community spirit. Furthermore, it jeopardises the financial prospects for indi-
vidual athletes, teams, and even entire sports. Clearly, the most serious forms
of misconduct are those occurring on the field and directly affect competi-
tion, such as cheating and rule-breaking. However, problems also arise when
well-known athletes appear “unsportsmanlike” by failing to give an honest
effort, leading dissolute, undisciplined lives, committing crimes, or engag-
ing in scandalous behaviour away from the game. Similarly, other key parties
engaged in sport directly or indirectly –owners, managers, league officials,
commercial partners –may be complicit in activities that damage the social
and economic value of sport. In recent years this has included match fixing,
doping, and bribery –all of which seriously impugn the integrity of sport and
diminish its appeal.
Some observers view sports integrity as a culture-bound concept that is
more important in advanced economies than in emerging markets, but am-
ple evidence attests to the fact that the ideals and values of sport transcend
countries and cultures. All nations embrace the universality of the Olympic
movement’s mission and principles, for example, and their ideas of fair, well-
managed sport and sportsmanship in the modern world:
Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combing in a
balanced whole the qualities of body, will, and mind. Blend-
ing sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to cre-
ate a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational
value of good example and respect for universal fundamen-
tal ethical principles.
The role of the [International Olympic Committee] is “to encourage and sup-
port the promotion of ethics in sport as well as education of youth through
sport and to dedicate its efforts to ensuring that, in sport, the spirit of fair play
prevails and violence is banned.”
8
Within a broad framework, what constitutes an integrity breach varies de-
pending on the sport, its geographical location, and its relevant governance
and competition structures. In North America’s National Hockey League,
for example, fighting is an instrumental part of the game, even though
penalised, but in Olympic hockey or most other professional or amateur
© MONITOR QUEST LTD. 2011
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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