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Summary

  1. State of Sport - a week of BBC original journalism about key sporting issues
  2. Hosts David Eades & Jessica Creighton with a panel and audience in Manchester
  3. Guests include Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Olympic hockey star Helen Richardson-Walsh and former GB athlete Katharine Merry
  4. Get involved: #StateOfSport

Live Reporting

By Jonathan Jurejko

All times stated are UK

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Full-time

State of Sport debate

What's that noise? It is the sound of the final whistle. Boooooo! That's all we have time for I'm afraid.

Thanks for all your input over the past 90 minutes - and over the past five days during our State of Sport week.

But it is not too late to contact us.

Have you ever taken a performance enhancing substance? Does your sport have a problem with doping? Get in touch using  this link.

And if there is any of our State of Sport content which you would like to catch up on, then head over to this page where you can find words, videos, images...everything.

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Get involved

#stateofsport

Sid Special:  Katherine Merry is right, the inspiration is there but it needs backing up with cash to fund free coaching sessions etc.

Triple G:  Biggest problem in sport is lack of good governance. DCMS & Sport England supposed to oversee but both not fit for purpose.

Grasy: Doping is nothing to do with education. Life bans and heavy fines would make a huge difference.

'We need more facilities for young disabled people'

State of Sport debate - disability inequality

Katharine Merry

British 400m bronze medallist at 2000 Olympics

Tell a 10-year-old disabled person to come back in six months and they are not going to wait.

Where are they going to go?

There’s a whole structure that needs to be put in place – the inspired will go off and do something else, they won’t wait.

'Paralympics help people understand disability'

State of Sport debate - disability inequality

Sir Craig Reedie

World Anti-Doping Agency president

I wouldn't want anybody to downplay the effects of the very elite end of sport in this country. Look at the success of Paralympics, that has helped people understand what disabled people really go through.

The elite end of disabled people in sport is in top shape.

However, I would never dream of telling Tanni how to solve the other problem at the other - getting more disabled people into low level sport - which is much greater.

'Young disabled people still can't do PE'

State of Sport debate - disability inequality

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion

The profile of the Olympic and Paralympic games is amazing but it does not necessarily encourage anybody to go and become an elite. The way to fix it is by having physical access, transport, about being able to be active in schools.

I still have many young people write to me and say I can’t do PE in school because of health and safety reason. It is probably dropping a little bit but needs to be better.

Where do you see the imagery of disabled people doing sport and having fun. That’s part of the problem.

The next issue

State of Sport debate - disability inequality

A change of subject. And we go back to the audience. 

Mike Jennings, communications advisor at the English Federation of Disability Sport, asks:

“Not everyone wants to be a Paralympian or elite performer. How can we help to break down barriers in sport to support more everyday disabled people to take up activity and lead active lives?

'No incentive for black coaches'

State of Sport debate - racial inequality

Benni McCarthy

Former South Africa footballer

There is no incentive for black and ethnic minority coaches to apply for coaching jobs. 

As I was going through my coaching badges, because when I look and see the amount of ethnic minorities I see, I say what is the point of doing it? No-one is getting a chance. 

But if you educate yourself and get to the level where you can be equally good or better then opportunities will come.

People say they are not enough black people in coaching but how many submit CVs? Probably none. Because we automatically think they will discard us and not give us opportunities.

If we educate ourselves we can only change it. Then if we’re not getting interviews then more questions could be asked. I have never applied myself for any job, I am one of those expect no reply.

State of Sport debate - racial inequality

While we're talking about inequality. Let's hear from Benni McCarthy on the lack of black and ethnic minority coaches in English football...

Although at least a quarter of all professional footballers in England are black, a recent report found that only 17 of the 92 top clubs had a BAME coach in a senior role.  

'Gender equality is happening over time'

State of Sport debate - gender inequality

Liz Nicholl

UK Sport chief executive

In terms of the world class system here we are incredibly equitable. The number of athletes, male and female, we fund is about the same. The number of medals we came back from the Rio Olympics with, male and female, is about the same. We are quite unique in that respect.

We have gaps in female high performance coaches. But we are seeing more women getting on to boards and growing number of female CEOs. It is happening over time.”

'New governance code will be transformational'

State of Sport debate - gender inequality

Liz Nicholl

UK Sport chief executive

In April, there is a really important moment for British sport - the new sports governance code comes into effect. Every organisation which gets public funding will be required to have action plan to comply with that code. 

It will be transformational. 

We will look back in a little while and see it has had a massive impact because no money will be flowing out of the door until an action plan has been agreed with UK Sport and Sport England in that.

There is a requirement to have a diversity action plan and a requirement to increase women on boards. 

Also a requirement to have governing structures that are balanced in terms of diversity. This will change at the very top of sports and have impact over time.

'Is gender inequality changing? No'

State of Sport debate - gender inequality

Helen Richardson-Walsh

GB hockey player

Has gender inequality disappeared in hockey? No.

I think on the international stage, absolutely. The funding we get from UK Sport is shared equally – and to do with results. On a domestic level it is not equal at all. 

My male counterparts will earn more money than I do from clubs in this country and from opportunities they have in the Euro Hockey League which is just for men. The female equivalent is pretty pathetic. 

It doesn’t feel like it is changing, in hockey it feels like it is getting further apart which considering the success of the women’s team is really disappointing. 

I feel governing bodies of every sport need to do more to make sure their sports are equal.

Gender gap being addressed?

State of Sport debate - gender inequality

Liz Norris, social inclusion co-ordinator at Greater Manchester Sports Partnership, has the microphone in her hand.

She asks:

"There are two England international football team captains – one male and one female. One earns approximately 255% more than the other. 

"What is being done to address the gender gap in sports in terms of athlete value but also to address media coverage and lack of females in leaderships and governance positions?"

The next issue...

State of Sport debate - gender inequality

Moving on... Let's talk gender equality in sport. Or should that be inequality?

'People will always push boundaries'

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion

I’m not hugely shocked by the figures because that will to win means people will take risks.

It doesn’t matter if it is low level or the highest level, there are people who will push the boundaries as much as they can. 

Education has got to be there but also about supplementation and diet – people are looking for this edge. 

We’re making choices at younger and younger ages about this pyramid and you’re seeing young children in football clubs being selected and deselected at eight or nine years old. 

That increases the pressure.

'Education must start early'

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Liz Nicholl

UK Sport chief executive

I complete agree what needs to be done - education, education, education. It should start as early as possible. Not only in schools but community clubs.

I was shocked by the findings of the BBC study. 

I would love to see some of the big sports with big reach into local communities doing something really positive and proactive in terms of the messaging and resourcing that to get across the health risks.

Education, education, education

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Over to Liz Nicholl now on this subject of how doping can be eradicated. And the UK Sport chief executive goes all Tony Blair on us... Education, education, education are her three main priorities...

'Shock tactics the way forward'

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Katharine Merry

British 400m bronze medallist at 2000 Olympics

In amateur sport this is not a surprise, let’s be honest. 

That 49% thought PEDs are easily available for amateur athlete who has nothing to lose. It is a sad fact. 

Starting at a young age is a fantastic idea, getting into the heads of young people that it is not good. 

The main ingredient is the shock tactic this is bad for your health and there are side effects here. 

Shocking amateur athletes and young people is potentially the way forward.

'Problem needs to be solved by education'

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Sir Craig Reedie

World Anti-Doping Agency president

The simple answer to Dr Lazarus's question is yes. I looked at the figures in the BBC survey and thought they produced a number of answers to the same question. 

The only way this particular problem will be solved is through education. Sport will do some, but ultimately the only way to do is through physical education in school, getting pupils to believe it is not smart and if they do it is cheating.

Better education?

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Our second question from the studio audience comes from Dr Lambros Lazarus, senior lecturer in social psychology at Sheffield Hallam University.

"Should ant-doping education be integrated in the school curriculum early on within the context of physical education and health promotion, so that young people are better equipped with knowledge and skills to avoid doping later in life?"

The next issue...

State of Sport debate - doping in amateur sport

Time to move on. Next up? Doping in amateur sport...

'I was popping 1000mgs of ibuprofen a day'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Katharine Merry

British 400m bronze medallist at 2000 Olympics

There were times when I was popping 1000mgs of ibuprofen every single day for two, three or four days because I had a race. That was my opportunity and I had to take it. I made a decision on what I had to do there and then.

Did I think about the process afterwards? No. Because I’d go to a doctor or medic and say I need to race, I need to run round a track to earn money. I’d ask ‘is this banned?’ ‘No it’s not.’ ‘Will I die from it?’ ‘Probably not.’ ‘Right let’s get going.’

Athletes do that day in day out. It’s not just an abuse of painkillers in football, you are talking collectively around numerous sports because that is what sports people do.

What needs to be put in place is structures, or personnel, to keep an eye on the athletes, to ask questions and make sure they know what they’re doing.

'Welfare is a collective responsibility'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Katharine Merry

British 400m bronze medallist at 2000 Olympics

Athlete welfare is a collective responsibility from numerous groups of people. When masses of amount of money are involved, that comes with responsibility.

You have national governing bodies, receiving millions of pounds, they are under pressure to deliver the performances and the medals, and that filters down to the people they employ.

They need to get the medals, they need to get the job done, that filters down to the medics and the physios. They need to get the stars on the pitch or on the track.

They therefore might make decisions that they may not make on a normal basis but it is their job to make sure the big wig in the team is ready and fit. That filters down to the athletes who might have one opportunity in their life to get this done.

'I had injections to keep my place in the team'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Benni McCarthy

Former South Africa footballer

There were cases during my career where I was told if I don’t take an injection I will never play in this team again. 

The pressure was really on. And because when you are a foreigner it is worse. 

So I was like 'OK if that’s the case then it is only a little bit, it is not going to hurt me or do damage in the long run'.

I didn’t want to lose my place in the team.

'Old fashioned coaching days are over'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Helen Richardson-Walsh

GB hockey player

Society is changing. 

"In hockey, gone are the days where you get shouted at on the sideline at international level because I don’t think that’s acceptable in society anymore and it is kind of being phased out in sport.

I don’t think it is an issue of welfare or medals, you don’t need to go down that route to win medals.

I’ve seen the other side where hockey is now at the moment and what we developed as team in the last two Olympic cycles was so far removed from that old fashioned in your face coaching and we were more successful."

How important is welfare, prevention and recovery?

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

The honour of asking the first question from the floor goes to Chloe Newton-Mann.

Chloe, a PHD student at Manchester Metropolitan University, asks:

"With recent concerns over injuries in sport such as concussion in rugby, how important do you think player welfare and injury prevention and recovery is?"

Time for some audience participation...

British Cycling claims are a 'wake-up call'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Liz Nicholl

UK Sport chief executive

It is clear the system is not as good as it can be. This is a wake–up call for sport to be much more aware of the responsibilities, beyond the responsibility to help athletes to achieve what they all aspire to achieve.

If they enter the world class programme they want to be medallists, no-one is pushing them more than they want to push themselves in terms of their aspirations to succeed.

But it is a wake-up call for sports and the system – it’s clear it can be better, and it will be better. This is a big step-up for the Tokyo [2020 Olympics] cycle.

'Speaking out takes courage'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Liz Nicholl

UK Sport chief executive

First of all we should applaud the courage of any athlete that has spoken out and expressed concerns about the experience that they’ve had in the world class programmes in their sport and actually in any aspect of life as well.

It takes courage and the most important thing is what happens then when that courage comes to the forefront and that information about not good practice at all, actually, is clearly evidenced.

'We need to be more mindful'

State of Sport debate - athlete welfare

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion

It is not the job of a performance director to think about what an athlete does once they’re retired - their job is to deliver medals. It is the way they do that that we need to be more mindful of.

There are some really good sports out there; there are sports that need to do much more. I wasn’t asked to look at each sport by sport. My report is really forward-looking. It doesn’t mention a sport,  it doesn’t mention a person in it. It’s the principles of how sport - how myself and the panel believe  - sport should be as we go forward.

'We can't leave athletes broken'

State of Sport debate

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion

Winning medals was what all the athletes are asked to do and that is what they have done, but as her athletes go through the programme it’s just important they understand - and they take some personal responsibility themselves - that they have a life beyond sport and we are able to maximise the investment.

It is about getting the best talent all the way through and not leaving athletes broken at the end of it. It’s the same for coaches and performance directors it is a really tough pressurised environment.

We can’t make it all warm and cuddly – because that is not what elite sport is.

'We can win medals with a duty of care'

State of Sport debate

Tanni Grey-Thompson

11-time Paralympic champion

The sport minister Tracey Crouch asked me to look at duty of care and it covers concussion,  safeguarding, diversity, equality, inclusion – it’s probably not a surprise that the athlete transition piece has garnered so much interest because of the amount of coverage around Olympics, Paralympics and professional sport.

The report I was asked to do is very forward looking, it’s about how we support people as they go through the system. It’s not just about athletes its coaches, performance directors, it is where does our duty of care lie?

We’ve proved we can win medals, my personal view is we need to prove we can win medals with a duty of care. I don’t think that by having a duty of care it diminishes our chance so winning.

Let's get this debate started.

David Eades begins by asking Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson about the issue of welfare.

She, as we told you a few moments ago, is leading a major 'Duty of Care' review for the Government into athlete welfare.

Who's on the panel?

Katharine Merry

Katharine Merry
Getty Images
  • British 400m runner who won bronze at Sydney 2000
  • Retired in 2005 because of recurring injury
  • Now a commentator at all major international athletics events

Who's on the panel?

Benni McCarthy

Benni McCarthy
Getty Images
  • All -time leading scorer of South Africa's national football team
  • Played for top clubs in England, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and South Africa
  • Now taking his coaching badges and a regular television commentator

Who's on the panel?

Helen Richardson-Walsh

Helen Richardson-Walsh
Getty Images
  • Key member of GB's Olympic-winning women's hockey side at Rio 2016
  • Enjoyed an incredible international career, racking up 291 games for GB and England
  • Now playing club hockey in the Netherlands

Who's on the panel?

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson

Tanni Grey-Thompson
Getty Images
  • One of Britain's greatest Paralympians
  • 11-time gold medallist, also winning four silvers and a bronze
  • Chairing a government-commissioned review into safety and wellbeing in British sport

Who's on the panel?

Sir Craig Reedie

Sir Craig Reedie
Getty Images
  • President of the World Anti-Doping Agency
  • Former vice-president of the International Olympic Committee
  • Played key role in making badminton an Olympic sport as International Badminton Federation president 

Who's on the panel?

Liz Nicholl

Liz Nicholl
Getty Images
  • Chief executive of UK Sport
  • A former Welsh international netball player
  • Been called 'the most powerful woman in British sport'

The line-up

State of Sport debate

We have six stellar names from the world of sport sat on our top table.Here's who they are...

Kick-off!

State of Sport debate

Lights. Camera. Action! 

Now we are fully up to speed with the key issues, let's get the debate under way.

You should now be able to see the programme at the top of this page. Or on the BBC News Channel. Or BBC World. 

We've got you covered.