Loughborough researchers to support clean sport initiatives in Para sport

a football match in action

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Researchers from Loughborough University will embark on a collaborative project to support clean sport initiatives in Para sport.

Working alongside the International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football (IFCPF), academics from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences will explore the role of athlete support personnel in promoting clean sport behaviours and cultures. 

The 18-month project, led by Dr Jamie Barker, Dr Carolyn Plateau, and Ailish King, seeks to help mitigate against anti-doping violations and develop improved knowledge and understanding across the board.

This will be achieved via a series of interviews with players and support staff across the IFCPF membership (including Doctors and Physiotherapists) around clean sport attitudes and behaviours.

It is widely understood that the role and proximity of an athlete’s entourage (e.g., doctors, sport scientists, nutritionists, psychologists), and wider Para sport culture (e.g., team culture) are critical influences on these behaviours.  

Once complete, the research will also have relevant outcomes for international Para sport populations and organisations in generating future initiatives and supportive educational resources.

Dr Jamie Barker explained: “This project provides a really great opportunity with which to understand the role team cultures including attitudes have on overall clean sport behaviours. Our overall aims for the project are to develop our understanding of clean sport within international CP football along with leaving a legacy of educational resources for WADA and the IFCPF.”

Ben Fraj Mohamed Ali, IFCPF Anti-Doping Director, added: "IFCPF is pleased to be working with Loughborough University on this important research project, with the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).  

“In a highly competitive sporting environment, athletes and their support personnel are under increasing pressure to win. Through better understanding of the role of athlete support personnel we can support the fight against doping through education, guidelines, regulations and rules to ensure a fair and equitable environment for all athletes.

“We look forward to being able to focus more on the core of our anti-doping activities. In particular, we are determined to mobilise athletes even more and give them more means to contribute to clean sport.

“On behalf of the entire IFCPF team, we encourage this research and we thank all those who also actively contribute to clean sport. We are fortunate and grateful to be able to benefit from this experience, this expertise and this commitment.”

Para sport continues to increase in global popularity with major events now a firm fixture on the sporting calendar.

The International Federation of Cerebral Palsy Football Men’s and Women’s World Cup is scheduled between April – May 2022, and The Beijing Paralympic Winter Games are also due to start in March 2022.

To learn more about Para sport at Loughborough University, visit HERE