PtG Article 06.07.2012

A taste of Play the Game at EASM 2012 in Aalborg

In a series of parallel sessions, Play the Game will take a direct approach to sensitive political topics in sport.

Will the reform processes started by FIFA against its own corruption and by the IOC against match fixing ever be efficient?

This is one of the hot sports political questions to be addressed when Play the Game gathers a number of distinguished experts and practitioners for a series of six symposia during the EASM 2012-conference in Aalborg, Denmark on 18th-21st September.

The keywords for the symposia are anti-corruption, governance systems, mega-events, sports participation, sports media, and life conditions for professional athletes. The Play the Game-sessions can be considered extra spice to the annual scientific conference of European Association for Sports Management ( .

EASM 2012 has received almost 300 abstracts and with almost 300 delegates already registered for the conference in Aalborg, the event promises to be very exciting with the head of FIFA’s Independent Governance Committee, professor Mark Pieth, the former International Director of FIFA, Jérôme Champagne, and the former WADA President Richard W. Pound confirmed as keynote speakers.

Lessons learned for Siemens

One of the main topics of the Play the Game-symposia during EASM 2012 will naturally be corruption. The multinational technology giant Siemens knows everything about being hit by a major corruption scandal, and its regional compliance officer Finn Baagøe Hansen will share the lessons learned from implementing a worldwide system to prevent corruption.

Siemens will be accompanied by the German award-winning blogger and investigative journalist Jens Weinreich who has followed the IOC and FIFA closely for more than a decade.

Also a representative of Interpol is expected to give a presentation about the current education programme Interpol runs against match fixing thanks to a 20 million € donation from FIFA.

World Stadium Index

A recent study by the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) and Play the Game shows huge differences in the after-use of stadia built for major international mega-events. The author, analyst Jens Alm, will present the study, and he will be complemented by Harry Arne Solberg, professor at Trondheim Business School, who will analyse the reasons behind excessive budget escalations at three mega-events, including the FIFA World Cup in South Africa 2010.

In spite of the heavy price tag on events, Europe has become worried about what can be described as an event exodus to other continents. Also in this field, Idan has produced figures to be presented at EASM, and the brilliant English journalist and author James Corbett will share the insight he achieved during months of investigations into FIFA’s bidding process for the World Cups 2018 and 2022.

Black book of football

Earlier this year, the professional football players’ association FIFPro produced a “Black Book” on the harsh working conditions suffered by players in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and one of the authors, Tony Higgins, president of PFA Scotland, comes to EASM to present the findings. Even tougher is the destiny of many young African talents who are trafficked to Europe.

Nobody knows their stories better than Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, founder and director of the Paris-based initiative Foot Solidaire who will also be in Aalborg.

A challenge to the sports press

Last year, Play the Game for the third time initiated an international study of the sports content of newspapers, and the 2011 version has become the biggest quantitative study in the field so far, involving newspapers from 23 countries. 

The coordinators of the International Sports Press Survey 2011, Jörg-Uwe Nieland, lecturer at the German Sports University Cologne and professor Thomas Horky from Macromedia University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, will present the international and national data.

The presentation will be followed by a debate on the future of the sports press in the light of the data and the challenge from the Internet and the social media.

Will the Olympics increase sports participation in the UK?

One question that remains after the London 2012 Summer Olympics is if the games will leave a legacy of boosted sports participation as it was promised to the IOC back in 2005.With cutbacks in budget for grassroot sport success has not been a given thing.

We will invite experts to look at how sports participation in the UK is measured and if there is any rise in participation lately.

Last, but not least, Play the Game invites all interested EASM participants to an open workshop aiming at inspiring a global index for sports governance. The index is the expected outcome of an EU Preparatory Action carried out by Play the Game in cooperation with universities of Loughborough, Leuven, Utrecht, Cologne, Lausanne and Ljubljana and the European Journalism Centre in Maastricht.

Read more about EASM 2012 here (