A new report commissioned by UK Anti-Doping has recommended the establishment of a new Sport Integrity Forum ©UKAD

A new Sport Integrity Forum is to be established in Britain following research carried out on behalf of UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) at Swansea University and published today. 

The Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) has agreed to back the Forum and report on progress to Ministers on an annual basis.  

The research at Swansea University was tasked to identify if issues of integrity, such as match-fixing, safeguarding, corruption, misconduct or doping, are linked, and investigate if there are benefits to sport working closely on minimising the threat of these issues.  

Several British sports have been linked to allegations of bullying and harassment, including canoeing, cycling and gymnastics. 

"Anti-doping is just one issue where the integrity of sport is under threat," UKAD chair Trevor Pearce said. 

"Safeguarding, discrimination, match-fixing and organisational corruption are all threats to the values we hold dear in sport. 

"As an organisation which lives and breathes the fight for integrity in sport, UKAD wants to bring together a coalition of organisations to start to address and combat sport’s wider problems, with a single effort."

UK Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston promised to prove full Government support to implement the findings. 

"Protecting the integrity of sport is paramount and I welcome today's report," he said. 

"Our new Sport Integrity Forum will bring together organisations from across the sector to discuss some of the most complex challenges facing sport today. 

"This will help to ensure that the UK continues to defend and strengthen the integrity of the sports we love."

Gymnastics in one of several sports in Britain that have been linked to allegations of bullying and harassment ©Getty Images
Gymnastics in one of several sports in Britain that have been linked to allegations of bullying and harassment ©Getty Images

The study produced by Swansea University revealed that 75 per cent of sport organisations had an integrity function. 

There was a disparity in funding, however, with some sports bodies committing more than £2 million ($2.6 million/€2.3 million) a year to integrity issues, while over half the sports surveyed had less than £10,000 ($13,000/€11,000) per year assigned to tackling the problem.

The Swansea University findings were used to create a map of the sport integrity landscape in the United Kingdom, resulting in 24 recommendations for future governance including: the formation of a UK-wide Sport Integrity Forum, the development of a Sport Integrity Education Strategy, the formation of a practice-sharing criteria and partnership within sport based on threats and resource levels, and an agreement on an operational definition for sport integrity.  

DCMS will host a Sport Integrity Forum with a workplan directed by a Sport Integrity Steering Group. 

The secretariat for these groups will be provided by DCMS, reporting to the Minister for Sport. 

The Steering Group is due to meet virtually in September 2020 due to Government guidelines on social distancing caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"We know that the wrong sort of behaviour can happen in sport and if it happens once in one area, it’s likely that there might be links to another area of concern," Pearce said.

"UKAD has regular dialogue with its counterparts, but there is always more that can be done.

"I think it’s vital that all bodies in sport who work on an issue of integrity can come together regularly to share information and can work together on mutually useful projects.  

"We are pleased that DCMS has agreed to host a Sport Integrity Forum where we can have these discussions and that we can all work together with the aim of creating a sport wide integrity strategy."

To read the full report click here