Nearly two-thirds (63%) of secondary school children believe that the negative reports following the Pakistani spot-betting allegations will make no difference to the popularity of the game according to a new survey commissioned by the Cricket Foundation charity.
The survey published on the day England and Pakistani cricketers return to the Home of Cricket for the 4th One Day International match, is the first to be taken since the allegations came to light a month ago.
Nearly two-thirds (63%) of 510 children aged 11 to 18 polled by Opinion Matters* say they don’t think all matches are fixed; while six in 10 children who watch cricket on TV or go to see games live say they will continue to do so, despite the controversy.
Nearly half of children (45%) think ‘cricket is a fair game and trust the people who play it’ compared to a fifth (19%) who disagree.
The negative media reports have been damaging, though, say two thirds of children (51% think ‘quite damaging’, 14% ‘very damaging’) and over half of kids (57%) believe this kind of alleged betting in cricket matches ‘takes place all over the world’, including England (9%). A fifth of children think cricket is now ‘a corrupt game’.
The majority of respondents (61%) think educating children on the values of the Spirit of Cricket - playing hard, playing fair and not cheating – is key.
Asked if they would, as an international cricketer, agree to fix a match or an element of a match, in return for money, 68% of children said ‘no’, 12% said ‘yes’, while 20% were unsure.
One child in the survey says, “As with many things in life, there are ‘bad apples’. It is just unfortunate for the cricket world that these bad apples have come to the forefront. The sport remains honest for the majority.”
Another says, “In general it is a good game, but a bit too easy to fix - only one person needed. However, these few people shouldn't ruin sportsmanship for everyone else.”
Wasim Khan, Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation that runs ‘Chance to Shine supported by Brit Insurance’, the campaign to educate children in state schools through cricket, welcomes the survey results:
“It is early days, but it’s encouraging to learn that the majority of children still have faith in cricket, despite the recent bad publicity. We work hard with our cricketing partners to teach young people in schools good sportsmanship and the value of playing hard, but fair. Children need positive sporting role models and many can be found in international cricket.”
Chance to Shine is one of the biggest school sport development initiative in Britain. It has brought the educational benefits of cricket to over one million children in 3,700 state schools since it launched five years ago and aims to establish cricket in a third of state schools by 2015.
Further details on Chance to Shine and the Cricket Foundation’s full survey can be found at www.chancetoshine.org