Maintaining Professionalism in Semi-Professional Sport: Are We Asking too Much?

Deborah Agnew, Philippa Henderson, Andrew Marks, Carl Woods

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


How integrity is understood depends on the context. This paper explores the idea of integrity of sport, specifically the sub-elite South Australian National Football League competition. This mixed-methods study utilized both surveys and interviews to understand the issues that threaten the integrity of the South Australian competition. Threats emerged regarding financial remuneration, competition fairness and demands for semi-professional athletes. Athletes competing at sub-elite levels are expected to uphold the same standards as those competing in the national elite competition without the same financial remuneration. This potentially motivates players to leave the sub-elite competition in favor of lower leagues where there are fewer commitments and higher pay. Sub-elite footballers also engage in some high-risk behaviors, which can undermine the community’s trust in the sport, thereby threating its integrity. Further research regarding the integrity of football supporters is warranted to maintain the integrity of the overall competition.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Specialist publicationJournal of Global Sport Management
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


  • Australian football
  • Integrity
  • fairness
  • professionalism
  • sub-elite sport


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