Pressure to win 'turns children into sports cheats'

Stumps Cheating at cricket included claiming to have caught a ball when it had bounced

Related Stories

Two-thirds of UK children feel under pressure to cheat at sports because of a "win-at-all-costs" culture on the playing fields, a survey suggests.

A quarter of the children questioned for the survey thought team mates would cheat frequently if they could get away with it.

Ninety per cent of the 1,002 eight- to 16-year-olds said their team-mates felt pressure to win while playing sport.

More than a third said they felt no remorse at winning by cheating.

The survey for the MCC and the Cricket Foundation charity found as many as one in 20 of those questioned said they were proud to have arrived at victory dishonestly.

Yet about half said they would have felt angry or frustrated if they lost a game because of cheating by the other team. And one in five insisted that their teammates had never cheated.

'Fouling and diving'

The majority of children said they felt the pressure to win came from other children and their teammates, while a smaller number said the pressure came from parents and teachers.

Examples of cheating cited by the respondents to the survey included tripping up or fouling people, diving and or hitting other players with hockey sticks. Other tricks used to win included not running the right number of laps in cross-country races.

Wasim Khan, chief executive of the Cricket Foundation, said: "It is a real concern to us that so many youngsters struggle in this 'pressure cooker' to win at all costs. We teach children the importance of playing sport competitively and fairly whilst also respecting the rules and the opposition."

The chief executive of the MCC, Derek Brewer, said: "This survey highlights the pressures children feel under when playing sport. With this backdrop it is vital that children are taught the importance of playing sport in the correct spirit."

The children were questioned by Opinion Matters in February and March.

The results come several weeks after the education secretary for England announced plans to increase the amount of competitive sport played in school, and at an earlier age.

The Cricket Foundation runs the Chance to Shine initiative, which aims to encourage the playing of competitive cricket in state schools.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 465.

    Me and a couple of my friends coach an Under 16s Football team. Stamping out the gamesmanship that the kids see on the TV is easy its getting rid of the push parents standing on the touchline screaming and putting pressure on their kids to "Win at all costs” is much harder. It took A couple of extreme measures including Banning all parents from the side-lines at our Home Games to have an effect.

  • rate this

    Comment number 431.

    My grandfather served in the cavalry in the Great War. When I was a child, he followed my sporting activities with great interest. His first question was always "did you play properly", i.e within the rules and in the right spirit, followed by "did you try your hardest". Only if the first two answers were satisfactory would he ask about the result. So sad that such an approach is nowadays so rare.

  • rate this

    Comment number 412.

    The only person they are cheating are themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Competitive cheating is in our DNA, same as other animals who employ tactics to beat the competition. Just look at some of the posts in here trying to 'win' their side of the argument for example.

    I have no issue with cheating, unless its cheating in a relationship. That's very much different to cheating in an egg and spoon race.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    It was always like this - some children would cut the corners off on cross-country; for some there was always a reason to disallow a goal. Leaning to play by the rules is part of growing-up. Imagining that things were once better is part of growing older.


Comments 5 of 8


More Education & Family stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.