PtG Article 11.08.2017

Football is the least trusted sport in the UK, index shows

New index explores the most and the least trusted sports in the UK and also looks into whether a perceived lack of integrity could drive consumers away from sport.

Through a survey of more than 2000 Brits, Portland Communications, an UK political consultancy and PR agency, has put together an Integrity Index for UK sports, the first of its kind. Besides ranking 12 sports according to which sport is the most trusted, the index also says from what types of integrity problems each sport suffer the most.

For football, the least trusted sport in the UK according to the index, financial corruption is quoted as the biggest problem. 62% of respondents find financial corruption to be an issue for the sport and football is also the sport perceived to be the most likely to be affected by scandals and cover-ups, the index results show.

For athletics, doping is seen as the biggest problem with 80% of respondents believing that the use of performance enhancing drugs is an issue in the sport.

The most trusted sport in the UK is dart, the index says, followed by golf, rugby and snooker. Horseracing comes in second to last after football and is outranked by boxing, athletics and cycling.

While the lack of trust is a problem, the possible effects of the lack of trust is possibly bigger and the index also shows that more than half of the respondents (52%) reply that if integrity issues persist, they will stop watching professional sports.

According to Portland Communications, the reasons for this lack of trust can be found in the growing professionalisation of sports, which has entailed higher revenues and “more scrutiny form politicians, media and consumers“. The examples of scandals and the growing lack of trust can eventually impair the ‘operating environment’ of organisations and corporations. An example of this is seen in the UK Sports Code, which has forced sports like table tennis and cycling to make structural changes in their organisation in order to keep their public funding.

“As it (sport) becomes increasingly professionalised and the number of issues grow, it is difficult to believe that sport will continue to be able to fall back on the argument that if the fans keep showing up, there is nothing to worry about,” the index says in its concluding remarks.

“Integrity matters, not just for the product on show but for the people that spend money on, and invest money in, sport. It is now up to teams, clubs and governing bodies to show they can live with the front pages as well as the back pages, or people might stop turning up.”

More information