Integrity in Sport


Integrity is the integration of outward actions and inner values. A person with integrity does what they say they will do in accordance with their values, beliefs and principles. A person of integrity can be trusted because he or she never veers from inner values, even when it might be expeditious to do so. A key to integrity, therefore, is consistency of actions that are viewed as honest and truthful to inner values.

A sport that displays integrity can often be recognised as honest and genuine in its dealings, championing good sportsmanship, providing safe, fair and inclusive environments for all involved. It will be also expected to ‘play by the rules’ that are defined by its code.

A sport that generally displays integrity has a level of community confidence, trust and support behind them. The impact of this on their business cannot be underestimated.

Integrity in sport can lead to:

  • increased participation – loyalty of members and the attraction of new members
  • financially viable – through membership, attraction of sponsors and funding grants
  • on field success – attraction of players who want to be associated with a healthy, successful brand.

Activities and behaviours that define sport as lacking integrity include: creating an unfair advantage or the manipulation of results through performance enhancing drugs, match fixing or tanking. Anti-social behaviours demonstrated by parents, spectators, coaches and players are also a significant integrity issue for sport. Such behaviours may include bullying, harassment, discrimination and child abuse.

The integrity of a sport will be judged by its participants, spectators, sponsors, the general public and more often than not, the media. The survival of a sport therefore relies on ensuring that ‘the sport is the same on the outside as it is on the inside’ and remains true to its values, principles and rules.