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What is Fair Play?

Fair play is a complex concept that comprises and embodies a number of fundamental values that are not only integral to sport but relevant in everyday life.

Fair competition, respect, friendship, team spirit, equality, sport without doping, respect for written and unwritten rules such as integrity, solidarity, tolerance, care, excellence and joy, are the building blocks of fair play that can be experienced and learnt both on and off the field.

What do the fundamental values of fair play mean?

Fair competition

To enjoy the fruits of success, it is not enough to win. Triumph must be measured by absolute fair means, honesty and just play.


For every athlete, playing by the written rules is mandatory, and respecting the unwritten ones is a must. Fair play requires unconditional respect for opponents, fellow players, referees and fans.




Rivalry on the field does not exclude friendship. On the contrary, friendship could grow from noble rivalries.



Team spirit

Individuals can be strong on their own, but they are much stronger in a team. Sharing the moment of victory with your team is the ultimate pleasure.

Team spirit


Competing on equal terms is essential in sport. Otherwise, performance cannot be measured properly.

Sport without doping

Fair play means not cheating by taking drugs or doping. Anyone who does this ruins the game for everyone else.


Being honest and having strong moral principles are essential to fair play. Practicing sport within a sound ethical framework is vitally important if you aim to be a true champion.


It is important to support each other and share feelings, aims and dreams. Mutual support brings mutual success on and off the field.


The willingness to accept behaviour or decisions you may not agree with develops your self-control. Ultimately, that could be the deciding factor when it comes to winning or losing.


True champions care about each other as they are well aware that they could not be where they are without having been cared for by others.



Sport engages us in a collective effort to pursue human excellence.


Pierre de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games said: "The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight. The essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well." Competition can be intense, but you should always first look for joy when practicing any sports. You should never forget about the play even in the heat of the fight.


How do the fundamental values of fair play contribute to the betterment of the world?

Fair play is not a theory. Fair play is an attitude that manifests itself in behaviour. Whenever we act in the spirit of fair play we contribute to building a peaceful and better world.

Without fairness and trustworthiness the established order of our society is at risk. If we do not play by the rules, we ruin the spirit of the game and it is impossible to play with destroyers of the game.

Fair play, which is an essential and central part of successful involvement, promotion and development in both sport and life, can teach people tolerance and respect for others. It allows them to integrate into society and create a sense of teamwork. Fair play in sport is capable of giving hope, pride and identity, and it is able to unite where nationalities, politics, religions and cultures often divide.

Cooperation in the spirit of fair play delivers even greater results than pure gamesmanship in all walks of life. It plays a key role, the role of a catalyst in today's society as a means of improving quality of life and human well-being.

How is fair play defined by the various stakeholders of sport and society?

Fair play for champions of sport

There is no sport without fair play and there are no champions either.

"The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well. " Baron Pierre de Coubertin

"It takes more than crossing the line first to make a champion. A champion is more than a winner. A champion is someone who respects the rules, rejects doping and competes in the spirit of fair play. " Jacques Rogge, IOC President

"Fair play gives sport the character of beauty. Fair play is a common language, the cement of sports that is capable of gathering together the whole sports world. There are many champions, but the champion of champions is the one who trains, competes and lives in the spirit of fair play. " Jenő Kamuti, President of the International Fair Play Committee

"We cannot understand fair play unless we link it to moral values such as the spirit of justice, fairness, and human dignity. This "broad" vision makes fair play accessible to all and underpins all its specific applications.

Thus, respect, loyalty, tolerance and the healthy body are the marks of fair play in sport. Reciprocity plays an essential role in competition: one cannot do without one's opponent, and sport demands a respectful attitude towards the other; respect must go to the loser as well as to the winner.

In order for there to be justice, equality of opportunity is as necessary in sport for leisure as in competitive sports, and in the latter, it must exist at all stages of training. Fair play calls for the greatest understanding of the social environment of competitors and of different cultures. " International Fair Play Committee, Declaration 2011

"The notion of fair play is a universally understood concept, which underpins all of sport. Without fairness, sport is devoid of any meaning or purpose. Worse still, it can be a detrimental experience for its participants.

But fair play is also a philosophy - one of respect for others, and respect for the institution of sport. It leads to an agreement, between all of those involved in sport, on the values and lessons that we want sport to teach our children and ourselves.

Playing fair also has to do with making choices. As we interact with each other in sport, or as spectators of sport, we must regularly consider and define what we think is right and what is not. Sport engages us in a collective effort to pursue human excellence. As our children interact with each other in sport, their ability to make good choices about fair play issues matures along with their ability to think and learn about what makes for a rewarding and fulfilling life in society." Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport

"Fair play incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing within the right spirit. Fair play is defined as a way of thinking, not just a way of behaving." Code of Sport Ethics, Council of Europe

Fair play for champions of everyday life

"Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit." Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics

"Fair play is a positive concept. Sport is a social and cultural activity which, practiced fairly, enriches society and the friendship between nations. Sport is also recognized as an individual activity which, played fairly, offers the opportunity for self-knowledge, self-expression and fulfillment; personal achievement, skill acquisition and demonstration of ability; social interaction, enjoyment, good health and well-being. Sport promotes involvement and responsibility in society with its wide range of clubs and leaders working voluntarily. In addition, responsible involvement in some activities can help to promote sensitivity to the environment." Code of Sports Ethics, Council of Europe