Two-thirds (64%) of Britain’s schoolchildren are cheating during school sport due to the pressure they feel under to win, according to research published by MCC and 'Chance to Shine' cricket charity.
The results reveal that the ‘Pressure cooker’ of school sports turning children into a win-at-all costs generation.
- Nine in 10 kids think that their teammates feel under pressure to win and nearly two-thirds (64%) feel this pressure leads them to cheat
- Three-quarters (75%) think that their teammates would cheat if they had the chance to get away with it
As children return from the Easter holidays there will be concern in classrooms that 90% of children admit their teammates feel under pressure to win while playing sport.
Watch: MCC Spirit of Cricket Assembly video
More worrying is that three-quarters (75%) of the 1,002 children aged eight-16 surveyed believe that their teammates would cheat if they could get away with it.
To help teach young people how to play sport in a competitive but fair spirit, MCC and Chance to Shine are delivering a nationwide scheme to encourage ‘fair play’ in schools.
From today, Chance to Shine coaches will deliver assemblies and lessons in good sportsmanship to around 400,000 children in 4,500 state schools, as part of the MCC Spirit of Cricket scheme.
We teach children the importance of playing sport competitively and fairly
Children also expressed a lack of remorse from their peers with 37% believing that their teammates do not care if they won by cheating and five per cent were happy or proud if they have.
Only 16% of those surveyed said that their teammates felt guilty after cheating to win.
The children admitted to seeing a variety of unsportsmanlike actions, with four in ten having experienced professional fouls, nearly a third (32%) regularly saw time-wasting and nearly a quarter (24%) witnessed diving.
In a separate survey of 1,004 parents of children aged eight-16, nearly two-thirds (65%) of parents believe that cheating by high profile sportsmen and women is adding to the pressure on young people to copy them.
According to the research, there is also a discrepancy between parents believing that 67% of their children feel under pressure to win when playing sport whilst a higher proportion of children (77%) admitted to feeling under pressure to win.
Derek Brewer, Chief Executive of MCC said it was vital that children are taught to play sport in the right spirit.
He said: "MCC’s ongoing partnership with Chance to Shine is a perfect vehicle for this, as children learn about the MCC Spirit of Cricket principles of playing hard, but fair.
"During the partnership we have seen firsthand how these values improve behaviour in the playground and the classroom."
Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Chance to Shine cricket charity added, "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."
This summer children will have also have the chance to compete for their very own Ashes Urn as 1,500 replica urns are distributed to Chance to Shine schools around the country thanks to the partnership with MCC.