Two out of three children admit to cheating in school sports because they feel under pressure to win, according to a survey to be released today.
The survey of just over 1,000 children aged eight to 16 also revealed that 75 per cent believed their team-mates would cheat if they believed they could get away with it.
Only 16 per cent felt their team-mates would feel guilty if they won through cheating, while 37 per cent believed their team-mates would not care while 5 per cent said they would be happy or proud if they cheated.
A separate survey of parents showed that nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) believed cheating by high-profile sportsmen and women had led their offspring to believe it was acceptable for them to follow suit.
Opinion is divided, though, on whether cheating has got worse in school sports in recent years, with 34 per cent of parents saying it has got worse and 36 per cent that it has not.
The most common form of unsporting activities were connected with football, with 40 per cent saying they had been victims of professional fouls, 32 per cent regularly seeing time-wasting and 24 per cent witnessing diving.
Derek Brewer, the chief executive of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), said: “This survey highlIghts the pressures children feel under when playing sport. With this backdrop, it is vital that children are taught the importance of playing sport in the correct spirit.”