Slip sliding away: Promoting ethical behaviours in soccer

  • A Nicolaides
  • J Surujlal
Keywords: Ethics, morality, soccer, sportsmanship, competition, moral conduct


Higher levels of sophistication, increased sponsorship, improved infrastructure and increased competition as a result of renewed interest in soccer after the 2010 Soccer World Cup, has led to increased demands on sport organisations, coaches and players to meet the higher expectations of fans, sponsors and the media. Heightened competition, higher salaries and increased prize money may be counter productive for sport because core values such as sportsmanship, accepting defeat with dignity and respecting the opponent may be compromised in the process. Unfortunately, while participation in sport has many positive benefits attached to it, one also finds immoral conduct rearing its head from time-to-time as a win-at-all-costs ethic pervades especially professional sport codes. While the natural law steers individuals to act morally, a performance ethic motivates many individuals to act with a self-serving interest and they thus tend to engage in un-sportsmanlike behaviour so as to win whatever it may take, irrespective of any pain or immoral action they may be promoting. This speculative conceptual article seeks to promote ethical and moral conduct in soccer as there is evidence that ethical issues are blemishing sport at the highest levels. It strives to analyze the relationship between sport and morality. If sport is to be a vehicle for character building, its participants should at all times seek to hold fast to the natural and ethic law which should be its guiding principle.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2411-6939