Cheating 'rife' on city's school playing fields

Rule-breaking is rife on the school playing field with youngsters willing to elbow, butt and argue their way to victory, a poll found today.

The poll reveals that children in Leeds are the worst rule-breakers – 27 per cent of youngsters in the city said they see unfair play "lots of times" in a single game, whereas in Sheffield only 7 per cent said the same.

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More than half (54 per cent) of eight-to-16-year-olds nationally say they witness bad sportsmanship in every game they play, according to a survey by The Cricket Foundation and the MCC. Teenagers are the worst – with almost two thirds (63 per cent) of 14-year-olds saying they regularly see unfair play.

More than seven-in-10 youngsters (72.8 per cent) witnessed cheating in team sports, compared with just 5.8 per cent for individual games.

And more than half (57.8 per cent) of eight to 16-year-olds say they would break the rules in team games, compared with 13.3 per cent playing individual sports.