Latest News

Back to Latest News back


‘Sandpaper gate’ legacy sees cricket viewed as Australia’s least trusted sport

‘Sandpaper gate’ legacy sees cricket viewed as Australia’s least trusted sport
August 13, 2019

A year after the ball-tampering scandal that engulfed the Australian men’s cricket team and led to the suspensions of senior players, Australians' level of distrust in the game is higher than any other sport.

According to research from Roy Morgan Online, distrust in the game soared in the wake of ‘sandpaper gate’ with cricket remaining one of the leading sports with a negative rating in the market researchers latest Sports Net Trust Score survey.

From research conducted in June 2019, cricket is followed by other sports with high levels of distrust, including rugby league/NRL, horse racing, rugby union, boxing, tennis, cycling and greyhound racing.

By contrast with men's cricket, women’s cricket continues to provide a boost to the overall image of the sport with higher trust than distrust.

Australians sports ranked by Distrust - June 2019

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source - Sports Net Trust Score survey; June 2019 n=1,257.

Base: Australians aged 18+ who answered Trust OR Distrust; June 2019 n=1,217.

More positive news for sport shows the overall Sport Net Trust Score improving from a negative to a positive overall position in the past year.

Although not appearing in the top 10 two of the major football codes also have positive Net Trust Scores in mid-2019 with both AFL and football (soccer) performing well with higher trust than distrust.

Leading Sport Net Trust Scores or NTS (distrust score subtracted from trust score):

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source - Sports Net Trust Score survey; April 2018 n=1,100, June 2019 n=1,257.

Base: Australians aged 18+ who answered Trust OR Distrust; April 2018 n=1,100, June 2019 n=1,217.

Commenting on the findings, Roy Morgan Chief Executive, Michele Levine stated “Roy Morgan’s Sport Net Trust Score survey closely monitors the perceptions of sports in the Australian marketplace and this year’s results show that events that drive levels of distrust in particular can linger and damage sports for significant periods of time.

“Distrust in Australian Cricket has remained high more than a year after Australia’s two most senior players Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner were suspended for 12 months for their part in the ‘sandpaper gate’ ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

“Although their suspensions for bringing the game into disrepute concluded in March, cricket still has a perception problem to overcome with distrust in Australian cricket far exceeding trust.

“Distrust is a key driver of perceptions and can prove exceedingly damaging to a sport’s commercial prospects if not addressed directly and consistently. Scandals are one of the key drivers of distrust in professional sports, other drivers include too great a focus on money and the influence of gambling.

“Cricket Australia will be hoping that (their) run to the World Cup semi-finals and a successful Ashes defence will rebuild trust in the sport as we head towards another summer of cricket. In addition, Australia is set to host the 2020 Twenty20 World Cups for both women and men next year.

“A positive story to emerge over the past year is provided by the improvements in the ratings for both AFL and soccer. Both football codes now have positive Net Trust Scores in 2019 and have been boosted by high trust in their respective Women’s competitions.

“The AFLW this year expanded the size of its competition to 10 clubs, with a further 4 clubs set to be added in 2020, and drew a record crowd for a standalone Women’s sporting match of over 53,000 for the AFLW Grand Final between Adelaide and Carlton at the Adelaide Oval in March.

“Women’s soccer in Australia has also had a high-profile 12 months. The Matildas has performed well and enjoyed a wave of support and positive media coverage early in 2019 as they prepared to compete in the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup held in France.

“The high Net Trust Scores for both the AFLW and Women’s soccer (football) shows that with the right mix of engagement, excitement, success and positive role-models such as two-time AFLW Best and Fairest winner Erin Phillips and Matildas striker Sam Kerr, a sport can elevate itself in the public consciousness and build a level of trust that creates a positive feedback loop between the sport, its clients (the supporters) and its corporate partners.”

Main image: Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner were suspended for 12 months for their part in the ‘sandpaper gate’ ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Related Articles

24th July 2019 - Athlete rights crucial to sporting integrity

25th March 2019 - Research suggests AFLW inspires more women to participate in football codes

15th February 2019 - Australian Parliament to consider legislation to strengthen sporting integrity

12th February 2019 - Federal Government announces new body to safeguard the integrity of Australian sport

29th October 2018 - Report slams Cricket Australia as ‘arrogant’ and partly to blame for ball-tampering

1st August 2018 - Australian sport integrity review recommends crackdown on sporting cheats

8th June 2018 - Australian scandal leads ICC Cricket Committee to recommend stronger sanctions for ball-tampering

14th May 2018 - Walking, swimming and fitness training top list of Australians’ physical activities

29th March 2018 - Sports Commission backs Cricket Australia player bans

27th March 2018 - Awkward choices for Cricket Australia in wake of ball tampering scandal

25th March 2018 - Australian cricket in turmoil over ball-tampering scandal

13th December 2017 - Westfield Matildas and Sam Kerr top AIS Sport Performance Awards

6th May 2017 - NRL rocked by latest drug scandals

28th March 2017 - ARU rejects Roy Morgan findings on rugby participation

Support our industry news service
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

As an independent publisher, we need reader support for our industry news gathering so ask that - if you don't already do so - you back us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine and/or our online news.

Click here to view our subscription options.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation


BH Fitness

BH Fitness, part of the long-standing and iconic bike manufacturer BH Group, is a global leader in fitness equipment for both Commercial and Home markets. The company, with the headquarters based in…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness



BODY BIKE® International is a leading manufacturer of indoor bikes with a 20-year track record of creating the best indoor bikes. Stay connected with Body Bike Australia…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness


Hydrocare Pool Services

Hydrocare Pool Services Pty Ltd offer 30 years of experience in aquatic industry features, products and water treatment. Hydrocare Pools has undertaken water treatment for aquatic centres and…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Technology


iDwala Pty Ltd

iDwala is the Community Sports Facility Specialist offering the highest quality designs and technical expertise to Councils, Schools and Sporting Clubs looking to create sporting…

read more

Consultants / Design / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



    SimplySwim is a school management solution that helps swimming school owners and managers optimize operations by automating functions such as managing class schedules, billing and…

read more

Aquatics / Education / Recreation / Safety / Technology


Jonas Leisure

Jonas Software operates over 110 independently managed software brands around the world, providing them with the strategic guidance and financial security required to be leaders in their respective…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport


Perfect Gym

Perfect Gym Solutions is a software as a service (SaaS) solution purpose-built to service the fitness industry, with over 1000 clients servicing over 2 million gym members across 40 countries making…

read more

Access / Fitness / Marketing / Recreation / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business