Sport rules, sport moral values and fair play

  • Željko Kaluđerović University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, Novi Sad
Keywords: ethics, sport, sport rules, sport moral values, fair play


In this paper the author considers the rules of sports (constitutive and sportsmanship rules),
moral values of sports (justice, honesty, responsibility, benefi cence) and fair play. Constitutive
rules are the rules which determine the essence of the game itself, determine the structure
of a certain sport, standardize the way in which it is played and sanction unallowed sport
activities. Sportsmanship represents unwritten moral rules based on virtues of righteousness
and honesty. Moral values are predominant forms of understanding of the purpose of human
activity and the way in which human moral character is practically manifested. Fair play can
be defi ned as commitment to the spirit and letter of equality of competitors in relation to the
rules, and all towards the common search for excellence. Th e author believes that the rules,
moral values and fair play in sport are required for any game to become actually possible to
play. Nevertheless, occasionally, the necessity of some of the above mentioned preconditions,
for example sportsmanship, is being relativized. Namely, the standing point that a competitor
needs to make a certain eff ort in order to encourage his opponent to play well, and thus raise
the level of enjoyment for both himself and his opponent, does not meet either the general
approval of athletes or of the public. It is generally claimed that it is suffi cient to play by the
rules in order to proclaim the playing as morally correct. Th e author looks at such an attempt
to separate the sport from morality through the prism of modern tendency to separate diff erent
forms of practical activity from their ethical implications.