Sports stars are poor role models - head

CHEATING football stars and "thuggish" rugby idols are making it almost impossible for schools to encourage honesty and enthusiasm among its pupils, a leading headmaster has claimed.

CHEATING football stars and "thuggish" rugby idols are making it almost impossible for schools to encourage honesty and enthusiasm among its pupils, a leading headmaster has claimed.

David Kidd, headmaster of Culford Preparatory School, near Bury St Edmunds, said his job was made harder every time a top footballer was seen on television mouthing obscenities, feigning injury or diving in the penalty box.

He also claimed cheating was rife in top class cricket and rugby was beset with thuggery, which undermined the role of schools and abused the position of sports stars as suitable role models.

Speaking during the opening day of the Incorporated Association of Preparatory Schools' (IAPS) annual conference, Mr Kidd said he was depressed by the lack of integrity among today's sportsmen and women.


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"How many of you feel, like me, totally undermined in our efforts to instil sporting values and instinctive fair play into our youngsters, when the role models behave so badly? " said Mr Kidd, chairman of the IAPS.

"The television images of footballers dissenting and harassing referees do nothing to help us when we are attempting to teach our pupils to win with grace and to lose with dignity.

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"Every time a player dives in the penalty area, or is seen in close-up on TV mouthing obscenities, every time a player clearly pulls a shirt or feigns injury to get an opponent sent off, so our job becomes that much harder."

A lifelong Sunderland football fan, Mr Kidd said all sports stars had a role in helping to educate and teach children at an impressionable age.

Addressing the conference in Torquay, he continued: "Where sport is concerned I believe passionately in the traditional values of fair play, total commitment within the laws of the game and an unquestioning acceptance of the referees' decision."

Top class cricket and rugby stars also failed to escape his wrath as he claimed it was difficult to teach youngsters when they witness their heroes behaving badly on television.

"Systematic thuggery, which is seen regularly in top class rugby, also causes difficulty for school games teachers," Mr Kidd added.

"Deliberate stamping at rucks, late tackles designed to injure key opponents and take them out of the game all go to create an impression that thuggery and violence are acceptable."

Part of the Independent Schools Council, the IAPS serves more than 500 top independent prep schools in the United Kingdom and worldwide.

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