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Ben Johnson's drug scandal is worst sporting cheat of all time, says British public

London, October 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Ben Johnson was today voted the worst sporting cheat of all time for the 1998 drugs scandal that saw him stripped of his Olympic gold medal.

The survey showed the country's disgust for the Canadian's shameless flouting of the rules. They voted it worse even than other notorious cheaters such as Tonya Harding's shocking attack on arch-rival Nancy Kerrigan in the 1994 Winter Olympics, and Maradona's 'Hand of God'.

It appears sportsmanship is still close to British hearts. More than four out of five people claim to have never cheated at a sport or a game. Although nearly one in five say they'd think about cheating if they were playing against their boss.

SkillsActive conducted the survey to mark the award of its licence to be the new Sector Skills Council for the active leisure and learning sector. The employer-led organisation is responsible for improving the level of training and skills of those employed in the sector.

The licence, which is to be awarded at an event held at the House of Lords on 14th October, will be handed over by the secretary of state for education and skills Charles Clarke.

World record breaker Sally Gunnell commented: "We all need to work together to promote good sport - so that amateurs and professionals alike can play to the best of their ability.

"Young and old alike often find role models in the world of sport, whether it's a world famous athlete or a local sports coach. So its important that everyone in the industry is able to focus on developing talent and focused on improvement."

SkillsActive will work with employers so their skills needs are met by improving the quality of training that can be accessed and encouraging businesses to be involved in the development of courses.

Other findings from the research show that people do admit to being more competitive against their partners than their friends. And even more say they'd be happy to cheat against a member of their family.

The top five sporting cheats of all time, as voted for by the British public, are:

1. Ben Johnson - tested positive for drugs in the 1988 Olympics and was subsequently stripped of his 100 metre gold medal

2. Hanse Cronje - South African cricketer who was found guilty of fixing matches

3. Diego Maradona - who scored against England in the 1986 world cup; it was subsequently shown that he ht the ball into the net with his hand

4. Tonya Harding - whose boyfriend was found guilty of assault on Tonya's biggest skating rival Nancy Kerrigan

5. Boris Onischenko - the least well known of the list, but perhaps the most inventive cheater. The fencer rigged the electronic point scoring system on his sword to record points even when he didn't hit his opponent

Stephen Studd, CEO of SkillsActive said: "We are conscious of the power of sport to inspire and motivate and for the need to create good role-models. We are not just responsible for improving the levels of skills for those employed in the sports industry. We also look at workers in fields such as playwork, health and fitness, the outdoor sector and the caravan industry, with the aim of ensuring all workers are trained to the sectors best practice standards.

"SkillsActive seeks to develop a competent and qualified workforce which is essential in an industry where issues such as health and safety, child protection, and customer service are vital. We'll help employers improve motivation and the development of strong technical skills which are essential for people such as coaches, instructors and those working with children."

"As one of the first four Skills Councils to launch as part of the Skills for Business Network, we're faced with a golden opportunity to make a difference to an important sector.

"Currently the sector employs 2.38 million people including the largest volunteer workforce in the UK, working in more than 230,000 organisations from sports centres, to playgroups. Yet about a quarter of employers in these areas say their staff often don't have all the required skills to do their jobs, and over 30% always have hard to fill vacancies at any given time."

"Our vision is to create a skilled workforce in an industry equipped to fulfil its potential at the centre of the economic and social development of the nation."

SkillsActive is one of twenty-three soon-to-be-licensed Sector Skills Councils. Collectively these Councils form the Skills for Business Network which is responsible for helping and encouraging employers to improve the skills levels of their employees so that productivity and performance can be increased."

About SkillsActive

1. Skillsactive is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for sport & recreation, playwork, health and fitness, outdoor education/training and adventure and caravan industries.

2. Skillsactive's mission statement is "To ensure best quality, best business and best value within the Sector through improvement of personal and corporate skills thereby enabling the Sector to achieve its economic and social potential."

3. SSCs are employer led organisations that aim to tackle the skills and productivity needs of their sector throughout the UK. SSCs provide employers with the opportunity to provide leadership to meet their sector's skills and business needs. In return they receive substantial public investment and greater dialogue with government departments across the UK.

About the SSDA

1. The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA), formed on 1 April 2002, is a company limited by guarantee and a non-departmental government body with a UK-wide remit. The SSDA's primary function is to tackle skills gaps and deficiencies through the development and funding of a network of employer-led Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), known, with the SSDA, as Skills for Business.

2. SSCs are licensed by the government and replace the previous network of National Training Organisations which had recognition withdrawn on 31 March 2002. They are employer-led independent organisations which work throughout the UK to reduce skills shortfalls and increase productivity in key areas.

3. Sector Skills Councils are licensed by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, and eventually a network of some 23 SSCs will cover around 85% of the UK workforce. SkillsActive is the fourth Sector Skills Council to receive a full five-year licence.

About the Research

The research was conducted amongst 1010 UK consumers by ICM Research Limited.

SOURCE SkillsActive

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