September 21, 2010

Spot-fixing controversy

Kids still have faith in cricket

Liam Brickhill

It is a glimmer of hope amid the shadow cast by the spot-fixing allegations and controversy. Most youngsters in England still have faith in cricket despite the damage done to the game’s reputation by the ongoing saga around corruption and illegal betting, a survey of secondary school children has suggested.

In a poll of 510 children aged 11 to 18, nearly two-thirds (63%) 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.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

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