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- Bringing change to the heart of sport

German Sport University, Cologne, Germany
3-6 October 2011

For the seventh time Play the Game gathered stakeholders in sport to join the discussion on essential issues in world sport at the world communication conference Play the Game 2011 - bringing change to the heart of sport

Play the Game 2011 was organised in cooperation with the German Sport University in Cologne, Germany.



Latest news on Play the Game 2011

Student video on Play the Game 2011 now out in an English language version

24 July 2012

Play the Game 2011 was captured on video, and the 30 minute film is now also available in English.[more]

The Play the Game 2011 film from the German Sports University Cologne features an interview with, among others, FIFA communications director Walter De Gregorio.

The IOC neither for nor against the call from Play the Game 2011

15 November 2011

Play the Game has received a friendly, but unclear answer to the proposal of a global code for good governance in sport which ended the Play the Game 2011 conference.[more]

Photo: Tamas Szafko

Surveying media coverage of Play the Game: Another story about football

19 October 2011

Bringing change to the heart of sport was the slogan for the 2011 Play the Game conference. Judging from media coverage of the conference, there is little doubt that the heart of sport lies in football, and its main affliction is...[more]

Photo: Play the Game/Tine Harden

Play the Game delegates call on the IOC to gather all stakeholders to draft a code for good governance in sport

06 October 2011

The 2011 Play the Game conference concluded with a call to the International Olympic Committee to organise a world conference before the end of 2012 in order to draft a code and international standards for good governance in...[more]

Christer Ahl contributed to making the Cologne Consensus. Photo: Tine Harden

Jens Weinreich and Andrew Jennings win 2011 Play the Game Award

06 October 2011

Two veteran investigative journalists, Jens Weinreich from Germany and Andrew Jennings from the United Kingdom, receive the 2011 Play the Game award in recognition of their tireless work documenting and bringing the enormous...[more]

Investigative journalists Jens Weinreich and Andrew Jennings received the Play the Game award. Photo: Tine Harden

Movies about football: The road to riches, disappointment or reconciliation

06 October 2011

The contrasts between football’s multi millionaires and its less powerful stakeholders were highlighted on the third day of the Play the Game conference. Through research, documentaries and investigations, a number of filmmakers...[more]

Argentine footballer Carlos Tevez. Photo: Jiménez

Watch Play the Game 2011 on-demand

06 October 2011

The live streaming from Play the Game 2011 has now ended. A number of on-demand videos and audio files can be found here: And here:[more]

FIFA and Jennings clash over claims that FIFA is like the mafia

06 October 2011

In a sensational session at Play the Game, FIFA’s new communications director, Walter De Gregorio, confronted Andrew Jennings during a session on corruption in FIFA and refuted the veteran investigative journalist’s claim that he...[more]

Andrew Jennings and FIFA's new Director of Communications, Walter De Gregorio, clash outside the main auditorium at Play the Game. Photo: Tine Harden

Sports writer: FIFA bidding process was a charade

06 October 2011

The “most extraordinary story I ever worked on” is how sports writer James Corbett described the bidding procedure for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. Corbett followed the process closely through his involvement with World...[more]

James Corbett (left, with Roger Pielke, Jr.) told Play the Game about the "most extraordinary story" he has ever worked on as a sports writer. Photo: Tine Harden

FIFA's Director of Communications promises to speak at the next Play the Game conference

06 October 2011

After years of trying to engage FIFA in open debate about issues of governance in world football, organisers of the Play the Game conference were surprised to learn that FIFA's new Director of Communications and Public Affairs...[more]

Walter De Gregorio has told Play the Game that he intends to take part in the 2013 conference. Photo: Tine Harden

A welcome home for sports bodies or a haven for the corrupt?

05 October 2011

Why are so many sports governing bodies based in Switzerland?[more]

The final session being discussed outside the conference venue. Photo: Tine Harden

Doping: Dispatches from the frontline

05 October 2011

Whilst WADA is well-established, there are still a lot of challenges in anti-doping work. The cheats are getting better all the time, and international federations lack resources for quality testing. Meanwhile athletes believe...[more]

Olivier Niggli, WADA’s Legal Director, warned that “science alone will not eradicate cheating”. Photo by Tine Harden

Being a real woman: A matter of testing or self-declaration?

05 October 2011

What should decide whether an athlete can take part in a female sports competition? A test for levels of androgen? Or should the athlete be allowed to make the decision personally by signing a self-declaration of gender?[more]

Chair of the IOC's Medical Commission, Arne Ljungqvist explained the IOC's take on the gender issue. Photo: Tine Harden

Former Olympic swimmer questions use of funds in FINA

05 October 2011

The governing body of aquatic sports is getting richer and becoming less unaccountable, a former Olympic swimmer told Play the Game.[more]

Nikki Dryden, a former Olympic swimmer, would like to see more current athletes “coming out against being used as a commodity”. Photo: Tine Harden

Brazil is set to repeat mistakes from previous mega-events in 2012 and 2014

05 October 2011

The next football World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games threaten to produce a catalogue of white elephants for Brazil, while restricting benefits to the business community, a panel of academics warned at today’s Play the Game.[more]

Speakers at the Brazil 2014 and 2016-themed session warn of unneccesary public spending on white elephants and material legacies. Photo: Tine Harden

Who needs anti-terrorist technology in stadiums?

05 October 2011

Are the security measures implemented at sports events always in proportion to the threat? Or are security issues being used to protect narrow business interests and profitability?[more]

Kimberly S. Schimmel, Associate Professor of Sociology of Sport at Kent State University, questions whether tough security measures are needed at sports events. Photo: Tine Harden

On the eve of Financial Fair Play, 55 percent of clubs post a loss

05 October 2011

UEFA revealed fresh details on the woeful state of European club football to Play the Game ahead of the introduction of the new Financial Fair Play measure that aims to curb the game’s endemic losses.[more]

Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Sports Management, University of Michigan, and John Beech, Head of Sport and Tourism, Coventry University, do not see eye-to-eye on the financial stability of football. Photo: Tine Harden

London's 2012 Olympic stadium likely to become the next 'White Elephant'

04 October 2011

“We’re breeding white elephants. There are herds of them”, a leading stadium consultant has told Play the Game. Ian Nuttall, a consultant at, was referring to the underused mega-stadiums that are the legacies...[more]

Ian Nuttal talking critical about the legacies surrounding sports buildings. Photo by Tine Harden

New international study evaluates mega-event stadiums

04 October 2011

Mega-events may trigger the building of iconic stadiums and plenty of promises about a sparkling future. But in reality the result is often oversized, expensive structures that turn into financial burdens. A new, on-going study...[more]

Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa. Photo: Ceiling/Flickr

Football hooligans rule in the streets and in right-wing extremism

04 October 2011

An acceptance of hooliganism is growing and fuelling both right wing extremism and corruption, warned a trio of academic researchers at Play The Game 2011. In Argentina, clubs pay fans not to cause trouble whilst in Germany...[more]

Follow Play the Game on different blogs

04 October 2011

Bloggers from different countries are following Play the Game. Blogs in English: American Professor Roger Pielke, Jr., from the University of Colorado, is blogging from the conference. You can read his blog here Blogs in...[more]

Photo: Tine Harden

Sport fights back: A day of contrasts and defiance

04 October 2011

The Military Academy Stadium in Cairo, Egypt looked as though it was on fire. Sizzling flares peeked through the smoke at intervals. A closer look at James M. Dorsey’s video presentation at the 2011 Play The Game Conference...[more]

The first day of the conference is over and many interesting presentations were given. Photo by Tine Harden

How football fuelled the Arab Spring

04 October 2011

Few people can be unaware that 2011 has been a momentous year for the many Arab nations. Successful uprisings in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and ongoing conflicts in Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere have made headlines across...[more]

James M. Dorsey spoke about the role played by football supporters in uprisings in Egypt and elsewhere. Photo by Tine Harden.

Play the Game presentations and images available now

04 October 2011

Presentations and images from the conference are now available. Play the Game 2011 in Cologne kicked off yesterday with a number of great speakers. You can see PDFs of their presentations here You can...[more]

Photo: Tine Harden

Warning: “Anyone Can Fix”

03 October 2011

Match fixing is going through the same transition as popular music sales went through in the 1990s when it went online, author Declan Hill told delegates at the 2011 Play the Game conference. Asian sport is already much...[more]

Match fixing could “destroy modern sport” Declan Hill warned. Photo by Tine Harden

Senior IOC-member: IOC must mobilise sports organisations to deal with corruption

03 October 2011

The IOC should take the lead in mobilising sports organisations to deal with corruption. Although sports organisations are unable to fight corruption without the help of authorities, it would be wrong to expect governments to...[more]

Richard W. Pound Speaking at the Play the Game conference in Cologne 2011. Photo by Tine Harden.

Pound: No reason to trust that FIFA can clean up its own corruption

03 October 2011

FIFA has lost all public confidence that it is willing to, or even capable of, handling the problems of corruption that the organisation is currently facing. So blunt was the assessment from long-term IOC member, Richard W....[more]

Senior IOC member, Richard W. Pound (left) believes that FIFA cannot clean up its own corruption. Photo by Tine Harden.

“Also in sport the unthinkable happens”

03 October 2011

With 330 participants and 140 speakers, Play the Game 2011 has opened in Cologne. It is the largest conference since Play the Game started focusing on sport's most urgent challenges 14 years ago.[more]

Jens Sejer Andersen welcomes delegates to Play the Game 2011 at the German Sport University in Cologne. Photo by Tine Harden.

New sports press survey: Newspapers focus narrowly on sports results

03 October 2011

Sports journalism focuses almost exclusively on results, tournaments and top athletes. According to new research on sports coverage in 80 newspapers from 22 countries presented at the Play the Game conference in Cologne on 3...[more]

Football is the one dominating sport in the newspapers the International Sports Press Survey shows. Photo: Karl-Ludwig Poggemann/Flickr

Follow Play the Game 2011 live on the web

29 September 2011

Are you unable to attend Play the Game? Instead you can watch presentations from some of the many interesting speakers and follow the key debates through live streaming from the conference or video on demand.[more]

What are the prospects for FIFA reform?

29 September 2011

That FIFA has governance problems is now generally recognized, but what are the prospects for reforms, asks Roger Pielke in this analysis based on the paper 'How Can FIFA be Held Accountable?', which will be presented at Play the...[more]

Photo: Roger Pielke, Jr.

Grondona to face rival for Argentine presidency

29 September 2011

Senior FIFA Vice President Julio Grondona's bid for a ninth term as Argentina Football Association president is being challenged by Fernando Raffaini, head of the football club Velez Sarsfield.[more]

Julio Grondona. Photo: Damian Zanini/Flickr

Self regulation is the key to protecting integrity in sport

27 September 2011

Europe needs stronger governance within the sports themselves so that it becomes impossible for players, presidents, officials or anyone else to affect the outcomes of sporting contests, argues Khalid Ali, Secretary General at...[more]

Photo: ESSA

Anti-doping: Widening the net against a common enemy

23 September 2011

Sport is huge business and the influence of the underworld is getting greater by the year. The threat is so acute that it needs to be addressed head on, argues David Howman, Director General of WADA, in the fifth contribution to...[more]

David Howman stresses the need for co-operation between the sport system and law enforcement in the fight against corruption in sport.

Strengthen your knowledge, find the stories and expand your network among top minds in international sport

22 September 2011

With less than two weeks to go, it is time to register for a unique occasion to network directly with sports political heavyweights, leading experts and top media professionals in international sport.[more]

Photo: Nietnagel/Flickr

The integrity of sport requires good governance

20 September 2011

It would be disastrous if politicians took over the governing of sport. To avoid such a worst case scenario, it is essential that sport federations at all levels work a lot more with good governance, argues Niels Nygaard,...[more]

Photo: DIF

Play the Game is about passion, politics, money ... and sources in abundance

19 September 2011

Why spend time and money on attending Play the Game conferences in person? A journalist and an academic explain why they are coming back for their fifth Play the Game conference.[more]

Ezequiel Morres speaking at Play the Game 2009. Photo: Play the Game/Jens Astrup.

Top football officials Gaillard and Champagne join Play the Game 2011

16 September 2011

Corruption in various forms is right now on top of the international sports agenda. Some of world football’s most experienced officials will address the challenge at Play the Game 2011.[more]

William Gaillard, here talking at Play the Game 2009, will also take part in the debates at Play the Game 2011 in Cologne 3-6 October. Photo: Play the Game/Jens Astrup.

The world needs an independent authority fighting corruption

13 September 2011

In the third contribution to Play the Game’s series on corruption and good governance in sport, Swiss journalist Jean François Tanda looks at the recent problems in FIFA and argues that the main problem is the lack of willingness...[more]

Swiss journalist Jean François Tanda comments on the lack of willingness to investigate corruption inside FIFA

Watch Play the Game press conference in Cologne

12 September 2011

Watch the Play the Game press conference at German Sport University Cologne from 14 September via streaming on the web. The programmes of Play the Game 2011 and Deutschlandfunk’s seminar on sport journalism in October were...[more]

Photo: Deutsche Sporthochschule

Meet the Challenges

09 September 2011

In this second contribution to Play the Game’s exclusive comment series on corruption in sport leading up to the Play the Game 2011 conference, Thomas Bach, Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), highlights...[more]

Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, comments on good governance and corruption in sport. Photo: DOSB.

Leading figures in sport give their view on how to fight corruption in sport

05 September 2011

In the run up to Play the Game 2011 taking place in Cologne early October, launches a series of comments on corruption and good governance in sport with exclusive contributions from high profile sport leaders and...[more]

Putting reform of FIFA in safe hands – a blueprint for anti-corruption in sport

05 September 2011

In this first entry in a comment series Sylvia Schenk, Senior Advisor on sport in Transparency International, opens the sport governance debate arguing that corruption, the lack of transparency and other governance problems is an...[more]

Transparency International's Senior Advisor on Sport, Sylvia Schenk.

Record number of speakers on their way to Play the Game 2011 – final programme launch today

02 September 2011

With a record number of more than 150 speakers, Play the Game 2011 is heading for its biggest and most wide-ranging conference since its start 14 years ago.[more]

The Play the Game 2011 conference will kick off on 3 October at German Sport University Cologne.

Play the Game 2011 update

15 August 2011

In less than two months, the seventh edition of the world communications conference Play the Game 2011 starts and will present its most extensive programme yet. Benefit from the reduced fee by signing up before September 1.[more]

European top politicians on their way to Play the Game

07 July 2011

The fight against corruption, match fixing and abuse of power in international sport is increasingly on the international political agenda and top politicians will continue the debate at Play the Game 2011.[more]

Play the Game launches “Change in sport day” during October conference

17 June 2011

The preliminary programme for Play the Game 2011 presents more than 100 speakers who will debate how to bring change to the heart of sport[more]

Journalist unions donate 7.500 Euros to fund travel grants for Play the Game 2011

09 June 2011

For the third consecutive conference, the journalist unions of Denmark and Norway have made a considerable contribution to Play the Game’s travel grant programme allowing sports journalists from less privileged countries to...[more]

German broadcaster offers extra media seminar up to Play the Game 2011

16 May 2011

The national radio Deutschlandfunk and Play the Game enter a partnership to inspire sports journalism and render tangible benefits to both international and German participants in Cologne[more]

German radio broadcaster Deutschlandfunk offers a one-day seminar in relation to Play the Game 2011. Photo (c)

Whistleblowers and top brass from international sport to meet at Play the Game 2011

10 May 2011

IWF President Tamás Aján and Brazilian world champion and social entrepreneur Raí are among the first new names on the list of speakers for Play the Game 2011[more]

The seventh Play the Game conference will present an impressive line-up of internationally renowned speakers including social entrepreneur and former world football champion for Brazil Raì. Photo: Raì in Gol de Lectra Project (c) Ana Mesquita

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