It’s the winning, not the taking part

Winning at all costs seems to have replaced the Corinthian spirit of fair play with many of today’s youngsters, according to a recent survey which shows they are willing to elbow, head-butt and argue their way to victory.

Some 54% of the 1,015 eight to 16-year-olds polled for the charity the Cricket Foundation, said they witnessed bad sportsmanship in every single school sports match they played and over half said they themselves would break the rules in team games.

Examples of bad sportsmanship cited in the survey included people pretending to be hurt, diving in football matches to win penalties, punching, kicking and swearing.

The poll, for the Cricket Foundation and the guardians of the laws of cricket, the MCC, is part of an ongoing nationwide scheme to encourage fair play in schools sports.

Wasim Khan, cricketer and chief executive of the Cricket Foundation, said: “Fair play is something that should be taught at an early age. We feel that we’re in an ideal position to help teach good sportsmanship through our Chance to Shine programme and partnership with MCC.”

Given the blatant examples of cheating in professional sport such as Dean Richards’ infamous ‘fake blood’ injury that allowed his team Harlequins make an illegal substitution, we shouldn’t be surprised when kids follow suit.

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