With estimated annual rev-
enues surpassing $1 trillion,
the global sports sector is far
bigger and more important
to the world economy than
generally believed. Yet the
significance of sport greatly transcends its commercial value. In nearly ev-
ery country today, regardless of form of government, level of development,
or prevailing ideology, sport is a source of personal and group identity and
community cohesion as well as a principal means of socialising young peo-
ple to the values of participation, teamwork, competitiveness, self-sacrifice,
and discipline.
Popular devotion to sports, teams, and athletes drives a growing and diverse
global sector that consistently demonstrates the power to defy economic
downturns. What drives this popular devotion, in turn, is the integrity of
sport: the authentic, unscripted character of a contest that engages competi-
tors who strive to win honestly and conduct themselves honourably. Genuine
competition generates a level of excitement and admiration other forms of en-
tertainment or activity rarely match. When scandal or misconduct casts doubt
on the authenticity of competition, fans may become disenchanted, young
people disillusioned, and sponsors and advertisers disinterested in continuing
their association. Similarly, when individuals engaged in the sector – competi-
tors, overseers, owners, executives, coaches, officials, or others – violate laws,
rules, and norms of acceptable behaviour, sport suffers, both as a business and
as a commendable social activity.
Integrity thus constitutes the wellspring of the value of sport. Yet today, sport
faces multiple challenges to its integrity that, in their scope, sophistication, and
consequence, threaten sport’s popular –and hence its commercial –appeal. In
the past year alone, scandal and significant misconduct have battered profes-
sional and amateur sports, from baseball, basketball, football, and American
football, to cricket, sumo wrestling, and swimming. Since 2000, nearly every
sport has endured at least one episode of match fixing, “spot” fixing, illegal
performance enhancement, egregious personal misconduct, or other serious
integrity breach. Collectively, such episodes have cost the sports involved and
their affiliated commercial partners billions of dollars.
GUARDING THE GAME Preserving the Integrity of Sport
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