A debate about sporting integrity between young people and representatives from UNICEF, UK Anti-Doping and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will take place at Loughborough University next week.
Youngsters from local schools will join, academics, PhD researchers and policymakers from national sporting organisations and international charities at Loughborough University Football Stadium, on Thursday, November 8.
The day will include roundtable discussions centred around three main topics:
- Should athletes be punished for the use of appearance (not performance) enhancement substances?
- Do the means justify the ends in sports coaching? Motivational coaching or bullying to achieve the best performance possible.
- Should athletes be punished for what they post on social media?
The event has been organised by Lboro CSI (Loughborough Collaboration for Sport Integrity) and aims to explore young people’s perception of integrity, with a view to underpinning future policy.
Organisations and individuals confirmed so far are: The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UNICEF, Commonwealth Secretariat, UK Anti-Doping, UK Coaching, former Loughborough MP Andy Reed, I Trust Sport, SIGA, Eleven Campaign and Sport Integrity Initiative.
They will join the students in an open dialogue on how policy can better underpin sporting integrity and what the role of young people should be in this.
Dr Argyro Elisavet Manoli, who leads Lboro CSI and the event, said: “The discussion and debate encouraged through the event will enable young people to engage with internationally recognised researchers, participate in the construction of knowledge on this topic, and reflect on the idea of civic engagement and people-informed policy.
“The theme and key elements of the event have been designed following dialogue with high-profile stakeholders such as UK Anti-Doping, UK Coaching and UNICEF UK.
“This dialogue with stakeholders will continue and enhance our efforts in social research dissemination and public engagement.”
Former Loughborough MP Andy Reed, now director of Saje Impact, said: "This is a timely festival as sport has never been under such pressure from a series of questions around its integrity.
"If sport is to remain relevant it needs to change and adapt and answer some of the fundamental issues its facing – doping, cheating, gambling and duty of care.
"If sport fails to address these problems it will lose credibility and support from parents, players and sponsors.”
Dr Daniel Rhind, a reader in organisational psychology, will lead one of the debates.
He said: “Mine focuses on whether the ends justify the means in youth sport and when motivational coaching becomes emotional abuse.
“I think that such debates are so important because many of these integrity issues are about the grey areas between right and wrong.
“Through discussion, we can hope to genuinely listen to the voices of young people which can inform the development and effective implementation of strategies to promote integrity in sport.
“Recent events, such as the case in British Cycling, highlight the importance of embedding an organisational culture which prioritises athlete well-being.”
The event is part of a wider project run by the European Social Research Council (ESRC), called the Festival of Science, which celebrates social sciences by bringing together policymakers, businesses, the public and young people.
Loughborough University has only recently formed the interdisciplinary Lboro CSI (Loughborough Collaboration for Sport Integrity), which brings together the research interests and expertise of social scientists from across the institution.
The Lboro CSI members are: Dr Argyro Elisavet Manoli, Lecturer in Sport Marketing and Communications; Dr James Esson, Lecturer in Human Geography; Dr Carolynne Mason, Lecturer in Sport Management and Dr Serhat Yilmaz, Lecturer in Sport Law.
For journalists wishing to attend, please email: Elisavet Manoli E.A.Manoli@lboro.ac.uk