Wednesday, 19 May 2010

PR Week, and integrity in sport

There's a very interesting reputation survey in PR Week this week, which asks 3,000 members of the public what impact they think sports scandals have on sport.

It found that 73% of people did not think rugby was damaged by the 1999 drugs expose on Lawrence Dallaglio; 58% think boxing was not damaged by Joe Calzaghe's revelations of cocaine use; and 40% of people felt that snooker's reputation would take less of a knock than John Higgins' and the News of the World's as a result of the recent story there.

I found it interesting in light of my time sitting in the Parry Commission which looked at the issues of integrity in sport.

One of the things that set the betting industry and the sports industry at loggerheads during the meetings for that Commission was the betting industry representatives' view that the extent of the problem which the Commission was being asked to investigate had never been quantified or addressed; and the response of the sports' representatives that it really didn't matter that it hadn't been, because 'just one instance' is 'catastrophic'.

The PR Week investigation doesn't actually cover betting scandals, or indeed other sporting scandals like l'affair Renault or 'Bloodgate': it is restricted instead, to instances of 'entrapment' and undercover newspaper stings.

But it's interesting to see just how sanguine the public is in these instances. I find it hard to believe that they view different types of scandal in a significantly different light; which rather suggests that addressing the quantum of the problem is a relevant starting point.

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