14th August 2017

UK public see darts as (double) top for integrity

Research undertaken by Portland Communications suggests that the UK public see darts, golf and rugby union as sports with the most integrity, whilst football and horseracing are seen as the most corrupt. Also, a majority (52%) of respondents said that they would stop watching sport if integrity issues were to persist.

In a survey conducted by Populus, 2,110 people were asked about their perceived likelihood of certain sports being impacted by:

• Match, point or race fixing (M);
• Players, racers or athletes using performance enhancing drugs (P);
• Financial corruption (including bribes, bungs and other financial irregularities) (F);
• Cover up stories and scandals (C);
• Impact on likelihood of watching sport (I).

The formula used to calculate each sport’s integrity score was M x MI + P x PI + F x FI + C x CI.

Sixty-two percent of football fans said that they think financial corruption is an issue in the sport; and 80% of athletics fans think doping is an issue. The survey also threw up some interesting results. For example, five sports were seen as having a poorer record than tennis for integrity. Tennis continually tops the suspicious betting alerts reported to sports governing bodies, and its issues with policing against match-fixing have been well documented.

In a similar fashion to tennis or darts, it is often argued that snooker lends itself to spot-fixing, as a single miss may not affect the outcome of the game and may go unnoticed. Yet snooker is ranked fourth in terms of sports that the public consider to have the most integrity. Young people (18-34) ranked snooker as second in terms of its integrity, yet that fell away amongst older people, with those over 65 ranking it seventh.

Older people were also more likely to rank darts and horseracing as corrupt, but less likely to rank golf as such. Older people are also more likely to stop watching a sport due to integrity issues, whilst the middle aged are the least likely to alter their viewing habits. Women are also more likely than men to stop watching a sport due to issues of integrity.

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