GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
The guardians of sports in-
tegrity require an inclusive
map of integrity threats lest
they expose themselves to
needless vulnerability or
devise partial solutions. As
with the definition of “sports
integrity”, however, a rig-
orous and authoritative classification of integrity threats is lacking in the
literature and practice. This report provides a comprehensive map of the wide
variety of threats that imperil the integrity of sport today.
As a practical matter, the governing authorities of most sports are rightly most
concerned about illegal performance enhancement and match fixing– the for-
mer for its ability to directly distort honest outcomes in sports competitions,
and the latter for its ability to render sports competitions predictable to ille-
gal bettors with inside knowledge. “Conduct detrimental to sport” – egregious
personal misconduct, on or off the field, mostly by celebrity athletes – is a third
prominent type of integrity threat, perhaps less fundamentally damaging to
teams, leagues, and sport in general but nevertheless capable of inflicting siz-
able individual financial and reputational damage, with collateral damage to
teams, leagues, and affiliated businesses.
The big three integrity threats and a host of other significant dangers make
preserving the integrity of sport a sizable challenge but also an opportunity:
a challenge because sport is under silent assault by attackers, and an oppor-
tunity because, in anticipating and addressing integrity threats, the people
that comprise sport – its athletes, owners, administrators, and affiliated busi-
nesses –build immunities, strengthening the sector, its value, and its manifold
place in society.
Below is Monitor Quest’s classification of themost significant integrity threats,
complete with examples. These are grouped into three broad categories based
on the source of the potential breach: the individual, the collective (e.g. teams
or event managers), and the system (a sport’s overall governance). Clearly
identifying and categorising the locus of wrongdoing helps identify relevant
precedents and integrity management lessons that may have been learned
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