Integrity and safeguarding

Questions and debates around integrity in sport have been emerging increasingly, bringing the topic to the forefront of political, media and academic interest.

Our research and expertise on the area focuses on exploring past, present and emerging challenges in sport integrity and safeguarding, and their implications for wider understandings of decency and fairness.

Our research centres on understanding the topical issues surrounding sport integrity, including the challenges emerging from corruption in sport, good and bad sport governance, gambling and regulations, and safeguarding, with a specific focus on young athletes in sport.

Our research focuses on exploring the manifestations and implications of corruption in sport, the societal and structural conditions under which they occur, the perceptions and protection of sport integrity, safeguarding in sport, international and national policy development and implementation, and inter-governmental collaboration and education on safeguarding and integrity promotion.

Our academic staff are happy to discuss research collaboration, as well as research studentships and self-funded PhDs. To find out more about academics working in this research area, please click on the 'Our people' tab below.


Current research specialisms include:

  • Evaluating and developing safeguarding guidelines for sport
  • Examining and evaluating best practice for the recruitment of young players overseas
  • The examination of forms of corruption and its impact on sport, including sports betting, match fixing, etc.

Grant funding

  • Tak M, Kim YJ, Rhind D. (2021). Is Safe Sport incompatible with high performance? International Olympic Committee. £12,500.
  • Yilmaz S. (2021). Social inclusion of African athletes in Europe (SİNAFE). European Commission. £200,000.
  • Esson J, Darby P, Drywood E, Mason C, Yilmaz S. (2018). Recruitment of young players in professional football: Defining how professional football clubs can best provide protection for children’s rights. UNICEF. £49,500.
  • Esson J, Darby P, Drywood E, Mason C, Yilmaz S. (2017). Child rights in football: current risks and future research agendas. UNICEF. £10,000.
  • Manoli E, Downward P. (2018). Does corruption in sport corrode social capital? British Academy. £9,992.00.
  • Amanda Black, Dominic Malcolm, Stephanie Cowie. Understanding the context for concussion prevention in youth sport: socio-cultural and psychological barriers. SSHRC Canada. $55,000.
  • Claire Warden, Dominic Malcolm, Anthony Papathomas. Health and Wellbeing in professional wrestling. British Academy. £9,900.

Real-world impact

Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:

  • Safeguarding athletes’ rights in sport – Dr Daniel Rhind has worked in collaboration with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Child Protection in Sport Unit to collate and analyse safeguarding case data in sport in a standardised way for the first time. This evidence was presented to the All Party Parliamentary Group regarding the Position of Trust legislation.
  • Studying the experiences of child athletes – Loughborough University has collaborated with the World Players Association to launch the first global Census on Athlete Rights Experiences (Project CARE). Project CARE is a two-year project aiming to change the way that the rights of child athletes are promoted and protected throughout world sport.
  • Sports betting and match-fixing – ‘Match-fixing monitoring system in play: Betting, data analysis technology and its effects on sport integrity’ funded by the 2019 IOC’s Early Career Academics Research Grant ($4,900), International Olympic Committee.
  • Safe Sport / athlete safeguarding – Dr Minhyeok Tak and Dr Daniel Rhind has collaborated with Korea National Sport University’s Institute for Olympic Studies to provide an insightful case study for the International Olympic Committee to develop more widely applicable safe guidelines, toolkits and educational programmes for international sporting communities.
  • Health and wellbeing in professional wrestling – Prof Claire Warden and Dr Dominic Malcolm are working with Playfight and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Wrestling to develop a network or interested parties, provide training in key areas of health and wellbeing, and develop of Code of Practice for professional wrestling in the UK.


If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Our research staff and their areas of research interest are listed below:

  • Rachel Ade – The social and organisational psychology aspects applied to football.
  • Prof Paul Downward – Social, economic, health and well-being effects of sport and physical activity.
  • Dr Dominic Malcolm – Examinations of the media representation of concussion and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the construction of medical expert knowledge on concussion, and the impact of sport’s concussion crisis on a range of non-elite sports participants.
  • Dr Elisavet Minoli – Marketing communications management in sport and corruption in sport.
  • Dr Daniel Rhind – Safeguarding human rights in, around and through sport.
  • Dr Minhyeok Tak – Socio-cultural and institutional analysis of integrity issues around sport, including sports betting, match-fixing, violence, abuse.
  • Dr Caron Walpole – University Teacher in Sport Management and Research Associate (Safer Together Through Sport).
  • Dr Serhat Yilmaz – Sports agents and the protection of young athletes in sport.

Current PhD projects

Our doctoral researchers (PhDs) include:

  • Robert Booth – Bullying and banter in youth community football.
  • Anni Rahtu – Protection of minors in football: Do football's regulatory frameworks serve the best interest of young players?

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

Experts in Sport podcast: Corruption in Sport

In the first of a two-part podcast series, Dr Argyro Elisavet Manoli is joined by co-hosts Martin Foster and producer Siddhanth D’Souza to delve a little deeper into the murky world of gaining an unfair advantage.


Listen here