Football named the most sociable sport

Children who play football are four times as likely to have a large group of friends as those who enjoy tennis or cricket, according to new research.

A study by telecoms giant BT found that soccer was the most sociable sport among youngsters, with three out of four having at least 17 friends. Just 13 per cent of gymnasts and cricketers had a similar number of friends, rising to 15 per cent among tennis players and 16 per cent of martial arts and netball players.

The second most sociable sport was swimming, according to research among 2,300 adults to mark BT’s Coaching for Life educational programme.

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The study also found that most parents wanted their children to take part in sports and outdoor pursuits rather than spending their time watching TV or playing computer games.

Julie Hindley of BT said: “Sports can make a big difference in terms of health, well-being and performance in other areas of life.”