Philosophy & Ethics in Sport

​The Philosophy & Ethics in Sport - Research Group (PES-RG) is hosted by the School of Sport & Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University consisting of philosophers at Cardiff Met, as well as a network of external collaborators. The group is led by Senior Lecturer, Dr. Alun Hardman (see Group Members).

We devote ourselves to some of the most fundamental and vexing issues in sport with questions like:

- What is the relationship between sport and addictive personality & behaviours?
- Are sportspersons role models? 
- What is equality in sport & how can it be achieved?
- Is it ok for athletes to change allegiance form one country to another? 
- Is there gender equality in (competitive) sport?
- Can women with hyperandrogenism participate in elite sport? 
- Should performance enhancing substances be banned in sport? 
- Should boxing be banned?
See Research / Innovation Areas for further information.

As a part of this group, we undertake the following:

- Write collaborative & individual research and scholarly outputs for publication,
- Undertake funded and non-funded research & consultation projects with external organisations
- Supervise postgraduate research students,
- Submit applications for internal and external research funding bodies,
- Organize internal and external events (such as seminars, workshops & conferences)
- Facilitate reading, writing and professional development activities. 
- Host visiting scholars whose projects and interests align with those of the group.

We encourage all those who are interested to contact us, participate to our events, as well as consider joining our research network.  See Group Member links for contact information.   

Research / Innovation Areas

Equality & Social Justice in Sport

We examine in what ways sport should ensure individuals are of equal value and that they are treated impartially and fairly. We look at how social justice through sport involves assessing policies and measures designed to ensure a fairer distribution of life chances within society. Our specific interests focus on equality and social justice with respect to a) gender, sexism and sexuality, b) racism and homophobia c) Disability and inclusivity.


Sport & Addiction

We examine the relationship between sport and addictive personality and behavior formation, particularly with respect to the significance of alcohol consumption and gambling has on sport cultures. We critically assess the social and political structures that mediate the consumption of sport through industries detrimental to health and wellbeing.


National Identity, Patriotism and Sporting Representation

We examine the value and function of international sport and critically assess what role national representation (by individuals and teams) plays in domestic, national and global politics. We monitor the transferability of sporting nationality as assess its impact on the validity of sport between nation states.

Ethics Governance & Integrity of Sport 

We research and evaluate how policies are established and subsequently monitored for their proper implementation, by the members of a governing body of an organization (e.g. IOC, FIFA, WADA, NGB;s). This work aims to inform what mechanisms are required to balance the powers of the members (who have accountability), and their primary duty of enhancing the prosperity and viability of the sporting organization.

Character & Moral Development in Sport

We assess what truth there is in the claim that is said to be character building. Does sport have the capacity to develop distinguishing moral qualities, moral virtues, and moral reasoning abilities? Our research focuses on both the conceptual meaning of terms such as morality, virtue, and ethics, as well as what it means in practice for a moral sportsperson to understands right and wrong and willfully chooses what is right. We assess what it means to be a virtuous sportsperson and how to engage in sport according to behaviour that is intentionally, predictably, and habitually in good.

Officiating & Refereeing in Sport

Officiating and the role of officials in sport has become a significant issue. We bring a philosophical focus that highlight that justice and desert of sport contests, in part, rely on good officiating truths (performances) that arise from an appropriate mixture of epistemic (judgments) and metaphysical (actions) ingredients.

Group Members

Senior Lecturer in Ethics & Philosophy of Sport


Professor in Sport Ethics
Senior Lecturer in Sociology & Philosophy
Principal Lecturer: Open Colleges Development Lead
Lecturer in Sports Ethics



Dr Andrew Bloodworth, Senior Lecturer, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences Swansea University
Dr Paul Davis - Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport, Sport & Exercise Sciences, University of Sunderland
Dr Tim Elcombe - Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education; Fellow, Balsillie School of International Affairs,  Wilfrid-Laurier University, Canada
Professor Mike McNamee, Director, Research Institute of Ethics and Law, Swansea University

Examples of Funding

Funding Body: Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
Research Project/Dates: Gambling advertising and young people (2018)
Grant Award: £2,500.

Funding Body: Alcohol Concern Cymru.
Research Project/Dates: Prevalence and motivators of performance and imagine enhancing drug use and alcohol consumption in amateur rugby (2017-2018).
Grant Award: £10,000. 

Funding Body: Society for the Study of Addiction
Research Project/Dates: ‘When Luck Runs Out’ 2nd Welsh Excessive Gambling Conference (2016).
Grant Award: £6000

Funding Body: Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol
Research Project/Dates: Experiences of an alcoholic ex-professional footballer (2012)
Grant Award: £2,500.

Funding Body: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Programme
Collaborative PhD Studentship
Research Project/Dates: The role of sport in the manifestation and treatment of addictive behaviours (2018-21)
Scholarship Awards: £30,000 (approx.)
Scholarship Recipient: Sian Edwards.

Funding Body: Welsh Government - Strategic Insight Programme
Research Project/Dates: Grassroots Football Research (09/09 – 04/10)
Research Partner: Football Association of Wales Trust  (
Award: £5k

Funding Body: Santander Internship Programme
Research Project/Dates: Life Histories of Chinese Football Coaches in an Age of Reform. (2019)
Research Partner: Football Association of Wales Trust.  (
Internship Award: £6k
Internship Recipient: Xiaoyun Tang