Increased media attention surrounding doping stories is affecting public confidence in sport, according to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) Chief Executive, Nicole Sapstead.
Research published by the organisation today shows that nearly half of British adults (48%) believe drug use is widespread because of high-profile stories.
The research forms part of a study commissioned by UKAD to mark the start of National Clean Sport Week. It shows that two-thirds of the British public (66%) think that stories about an elite athlete doping in sport have had a negative impact on their trust in the integrity of sport.
Sapstead said: “We are at a critical point in the fight against doping and unless action is stepped up across all sports, at all levels, to help us fight the cheats, we may find that both sports audiences and participation decrease in the future.
It’s worrying that so many people are losing their trust in the integrity of sport because of stories they see in the media, which are making them believe doping is more widespread than it actually is.”
National Clean Sport Week (10–17 July) has been launched to help highlight the true picture in Britain. The campaign aims to showcase the widespread work being done by UKAD and its partners to ensure sport in the UK is clean.
The work involves supporting athletes from grassroots to elite level through one of the world’s most extensive education and intelligence-led drug testing programmes.
It has 40 National Trainers who deliver clean sport education, over 200 Doping Control Personnel, who work as part of the sample collection process, and over 2300 Accredited Advisors around the UK.