Afghan and Belarusian activists and top Olympic people meet at Play the Game 2022
For the 12th time, Play the Game gathers hundreds of different stakeholders asking “is there a cure for sport?”. Over 300 athlete representatives, academics, journalists, sports leaders, and other stakeholders will take on the hottest sports political issues in Odense in Denmark from 27 to 30 June.
How can artificial intelligence help uncover cheating in sport on and off the track? Can European football survive billionaire investments and break-away attempts? Will Afghan women ever be allowed back on the field? Does sport stand a chance against climate change? Is the justice system in sport failing its duty to athletes? Are mega-events an efficient tool to improve human rights? And how does a national football coach feel when quizzed about labour conditions for construction workers?
These and many questions will guarantee an intense atmosphere when over 160 speakers address some of the most burning challenges to modern sport. Some of them are well-known to the wider public, some of them will be revelations – and that goes for both the names and the challenges.
Once again, the athlete perspective will be highly visible. Afghan and Belarusian athlete activists will share their life stories at the forefront of social struggles for a more democratic society, and representatives of World Players Association will take seats in numerous sessions.
Recently, also the chair of the IOC’s Athletes Commission, Emma Terho from Finland, has announced her presence. She will be joined by the Head of Human Rights at the IOC, Magali Martowicz, who will engage in a session on how sport can handle the difficult gender issues.
Although not an IOC member anymore, Francesco Ricci Bitti is a key player in the power circles of the Olympic Movement as the president of ASOIF, the association of Olympic summer sports. He will discuss the changing geopolitical landscape in sport with the Danish NOC President Hans Natorp, former international ski CEO Sarah Lewis, the CEO of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, Mary Harvey, and professor Jules Boykoff from Pacific University, Oregon, USA.
The coach of the national Danish football team, Kasper Hjulmand, takes a break from the playing field and shares his thoughts about how football can improve society. Meanwhile, Danish FA President Jesper Møller, will discuss the FIFA World Cup in Qatar with Minky Worden, director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch, and reporters James M. Dorsey and Benjamin Best.
FIFA’s name will also ring when its Head of Sustainability, Federico Addiechi, discusses the role of sport in climate change with football writer David Goldblatt, climate professor Roger Pielke from Colorado University Boulder, and Rikke Rønholt from the board of Danish NOC.
Top investigators share their insights and tools of the trade
Top criminal investigators like Gunter Younger, WADA, and Nick Raudenski, ITA (formerly UEFA and FIFA), will join some of the world’s leading investigative journalists like Jens Weinreich, Gritt Hartmann, Nick Harris, James Corbett, Philippe Auclair, Andy Brown, Jack Kerr, Andreas Selliaas, Tariq Panja, and quite a few others.
Famous sports lawyer Richard H. McLaren and partners will present a new tool to identify cheaters in sports governance, and Martin Purbrick will share data from the Asian Racing Federation about the magnitude of the illegal gambling market and the related risks.
“It feels almost inappropriate to highlight some names instead of others when you look at the list of speakers for Play the Game 2022,” says international director Jens Sejer Andersen who is nevertheless thankful for an impossible task in advance of the 25-anniversary conference.
“In the first many years, people would hesitate to sign up for Play the Game because it might harm their reputation in certain quarters if they engaged in a debate about the shadier side of sport. Today, we face the positive problem of having more top-class experts who are able and willing to speak than we have programme time.”
How far the organisers have come in composing the themes and talents, can be seen in the full conference programme that still has a couple of speaking slots available. Visit our conference site for more information about the conference and get access to registration.