Is cheerleading a sport, Staffordshire University survey asks

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AN INTERNATIONAL survey into cheerleading and whether it should be recognised as a sport has been launched by Staffordshire University.

The University’s Centre for International Sports Law (CISL), which is run in partnership with Thompson Rivers University in Canada, will also explore the issue of what exactly constitutes a sport.

The survey, launched online today, Tuesday, July 5, has been backed by sports and cheerleading associations internationally. These include: The US National Cheer Safety Foundation, the UK Cheerleading Association (UKCA), Future Cheer, International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA), the British Cheerleading Association (BCA), and British Gymnastics.

Kris Lines, CISL Co-Director, said: “It is important to get international opinion on the subject of cheerleading becoming a sport. This has been a particular issue in the US where there are more than 1.5 million cheerleaders.

“In the UK all the major cheerleading organisations support the survey and research and we are delighted that Sport England has also confirmed that they’re interesting in the findings and academic opinion.”

Recognition of cheerleading as a sport could lead to a number of advances, such as improved credibility, increased funding and improvements in safety and governance.

Kris added: “As with any sport or activity, context, why it is being played, where and by whom, becomes all important with deciding whether it is actually a sport or an activity. CISL’s research attempts to clarify the line between the two and solve the issue of whether cheerleading is a sport in its own right.

“Official recognition as a sport can lead to increased government funding and tax exemptions. However, perhaps the most important reason that cheerleading should be recognised as a sport is that it will help to raise and maintain standards for safety and good governance within the cheerleading community internationally.”

The survey aims to collect opinions from a wide range of backgrounds, from those with no cheerleading knowledge to competitors and coaches. All viewpoints are being welcomed by researchers, particularly from those that believe cheerleading shouldn’t be a sport.

The BIG Debate: Cheerleading Questionnaire can be found on the Staffordshire University website, at


Maria Scrivens
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