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Sulky soccer; PARENTS FEAR INFLUENCE OF ROONEY & CO.

Byline: LAURA COVENTRY

PARENTS are worried that the antics of football heroes such as Wayne Rooney and Old Firm managers could turn their kids into a bunch of whingeing losers.

There was outrage at the weekend when Manchester United and England star Rooney swore into a TV camera during a Premiership match - part of a growing trend of bad sportsmanship by top football figures on the pitch.

And the recent touchline bust-up between Celtic boss Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist also threw the spotlight on what it takes to be a good sport.

Now, a survey has revealed many youngsters are ungracious losers, sulking, swearing and throwing tantrums - according to their parents.

A poll of more than 1,000 mums and dads found that 39% were worried that if their child saw a sports hero acting like a sore loser, they would copy that behaviour.

But most of those quizzed - 64% - accepted that they should be the role models for their children, not sportsmen and women.

In the poll 38% of parents said they had witnessed their child sulking after losing a match, while a fifth said their son or daughter began crying.

The survey also revealed that 28% said their youngster had been angry with themselves after being beaten, while 13% said their child had stormed-off and 5% of kids had even chucked a piece of sports equipment.

But while just 17% of parents thought their child was always a good loser, most believed their youngster was gracious in victory.

Three-quarters of those polled said their child was a gracious winner all, or most, of the time.

But parents themselves may not be setting a good example to their children, the survey suggests.

More than half of parents thought Britain was a nation of bad losers and many admitted to throwing a strop of their own after losing a match when they were young.

Two-fifths said they had sulked after losing as a child, while 20% said they had cried.

And the findings also show that the touchline antics of parents could be having a bad effect.

Nearly two-fifths said they had seen other parents mocking the opposition.

And almost the same number had witnessed parents hurling abuse at officials.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2011
Words:379
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