Abertay University has teamed up with Police Scotland and Scotland’s Serious Organised Crime Task Force to deliver an innovative sports integrity programme – The Fix.
The programme – presented by club coaches and anyone involved in the coaching of young people - warns and advises young elite athletes of the dangers posed by serious organised criminals, high-profile social media as well as match fixing and gambling.
It also highlights the potentially negative and adverse influence these factors could have on their wellbeing as well as their future participation, or career, in their chosen sport.
Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Andy Freeburn said:
“The Fix programme is about prevention and the interactive sessions will provide information which will help young athletes avoid being drawn into the world of serious organised criminality and prevent them being exposed to the harm that it undoubtedly presents.
“We also want to ensure that the integrity of the young person’s chosen sport is not compromised in any way.
“Social media can be a hugely positive aspect of being involved in sport at the highest level and helps raise the profile of an athlete. However, there can be a negative side to the attention it brings and the teaching pack explains this.”
During the interactive session, the young athletes will be shown a hard-hitting video showing the career-threatening consequences of becoming involved with criminals, who persuade a young footballer to be part of fixing matches. The real-life inspired events in the video are depicted by actors.
Abertay University’s Professor of Duty of Care in Sport, David Lavallee and Dean of School of Applied Sciences, Andrea Cameron conducted the underpinning research for The Fix film script and teaching pack, in collaboration with a doctoral student. Sports development squads, academy players and Active Schools ambassadors provided feedback on what kind of resource to develop as well the kind of messaging to include.
Professor Lavallee said:
“This proactive initiative led by Police Scotland is a hugely positive step towards better educating our nation’s athletes and protecting them from serious organised criminality. There’s no doubt that issues like match fixing, gambling and the toxic side of social media pose significant dangers to modern athletes and that’s one of the reasons why we embed education on welfare and integrity into all of our academic programmes, in addition to making duty of care in the sector a prime research focus.”