England news April 16, 2012

MCC and Chance to Shine launch anti-bullying drive

ESPNcricinfo staff

MCC and the Chance to Shine charity have combined in a nationwide campaign to arrest what John Stephenson, MCC's head of cricket, has called an "alarming trend" of physical and mental bullying in sport.

Chance to Shine, which seeks to promote cricket in state schools, will send coaches into the state sector to promote good sportsmanship for around half a million children in 4,000 schools.

Research published by Chance to Shine to coincide with the end of the Easter holidays suggests children as young as eight-years-old are victims of mental and physical bullying on the school playing field.

Two-thirds (66%) of parents of children aged eight to 16 polled said they had seen different forms of mental intimidation while watching their children play sport. Teasing (43%), swearing (40%), taunts (34%) and verbal threats (16%) were all cited.

Most disturbingly, 42% of parents said that their child lost confidence after being bullied on the playing field, with half of that group showing reluctance to take further part as a result.

A separate survey of 1,250 schoolchildren suggested that parents were not being over-protective. More than half reported verbal abuse during school matches and a quarter of children said they had seen a team-mate deliberately tripped, kicked or pushed over.

Stephenson said: "The results from the survey highlight an alarming trend in school sport, which needs to be proactively addressed. MCC's ongoing partnership with Chance to Shine provides the perfect vehicle to do this, as children get the opportunity to learn about the MCC Spirit of Cricket principles of playing hard, but fair."

Wasim Khan, the chief executive of Chance to Shine, said: "It is worrying to hear that this kind of psychological warfare is being waged on our school playing fields. We are teaching children from a young age to play competitively, but to respect the opposition as well as their team-mates. We need to stamp out this bullying in school sport."

The full survey can be viewed in the media section of chancetoshine.org

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  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Another great example of cricket taking the lead in sport, defiantly a move in the right direction good work.

  • Dummy4 on April 16, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Most of the teasing, swearing and taunts I hear tend to be from opposition parents..... though not in cricket I should add. Football needs to get its act together much more than cricket (and rugby)

  • Michael on April 16, 2012, 19:36 GMT

    The problem with campaigns like this, while they are well-intentioned, is not that they risk being overprotective or pampering young people, but that they rarely have a way of reaching many of those affected, particularly in the worst ways. Many instances will undoubtedly still go underreported.

  • Bob on April 16, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    If the MCC are talking about bullying on school playing fields.. I think they live in a different world to the rest of us. Huge numbers of schools have sold off their playing fields or built on them because they've needed to expand. I would think what they really mean is playgrounds, which are an entirely different thing to playing fields.

  • Musa on April 16, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    Great work! This should be extended to all test and associate playing teams to bring more confidence and uniformity in the game.

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