27 November 09
Sport seems to have suffered an abundance of scandals in the past year; at the time of writing, Formula One has the dubious distinction of owning the most recent and arguably the most shocking incident, in the form of “Crash Gate”.
It is not proposed to revisit these scandals, as they have been considered in great depth in the media. The bottom line is undoubtedly that they are bad for the reputation of sport and incompatible with the promoted values of sport generally.
That said, are they actually as alien to games as we would like to believe?
And is “cheating” in one sport an automatic death knoll for involvement in all sports? - In other words, should sports close ranks on ethical issues in order to preserve a common standard of decent play?
The above assertion of course assumes that such a standard exists across sports, and indeed that the other sports can confidently assume their sporting counterparts operate an ethical baseline. Or is it all a cynical attempt to gain positive PR for their own respective sports, by asserting “cheats are not welcome here”?
For further information please see:
- Crash Gate: Formula One’s Perspective
- Other Recent Examples of Ethically Unsound Behaviour in Sports
Andy Gray, Director of Regulatory and Legal Affairs at British Swimming and Module Leader in Sport and Ethics comprised in the LLM Sports Law and Practice, (De Montfort University) shares his opinion on the issue:
“The notion of fair play and sporting ethics has perhaps never before been subject to such high profile and sustained media interest as we have witnessed in the various “sporting scandals” of 2009. What does appear to be clear is the absence of a single codified sporting view, with commentators and participants in various sports adopting divergent points of view. From the outright condemnation amongst the rugby fraternity of the now demonised Dean Richards to the shoulder shrugging worldly cynicism of Eddie Irvine it seems increasingly difficult to know where to draw the line: Is the notion of fair play (i.e. keeping within both the spirit as well as the letter of the law) really wistful nostalgia for a bygone age that (probably) never was? Or does the notion of the “spirit of sport” still have a clear and compelling resonance. Perhaps the difficulty lies in determining what the 'spirit' of any rule actually is. There is a fine line between outright cheating, stretching the rules beyond legitimate interpretation as opposed to legitimately seizing a competitive advantage through innovative thinking (e.g. the Brawn F1 diffuser). It surely is a matter for those involved in sports regulation to ensure rules are expressed both with clarity and clearly stated purpose”.
To add your own view, please visit the discussion board.