PtG Article 12.06.2009

Declan Hill wins Play the Game 2009 award

Canadian investigative journalist, author and academic, Declan Hill receives the Play the Game 2009 award in recognition of his groundbreaking research and documentation of the realities of match fixing.

Canadian investigative journalist, author and academic, Declan Hill receives the Play the Game 2009 award in recognition of his groundbreaking research and documentation of the realities of match-fixing. Hill, author of the critically acclaimed book “The Fix”, is the world’s leading investigator into the illegal Asian gambling rings that are the prime movers in the world of football match-fixing.

The Play the Game Award is awarded by the organisation Play the Game which aims to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport and encourage democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in world sport. It pays tribute to an individual or a group of persons who in their professional careers or as volunteers in sport have made an outstanding effort to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport.

Hill was selected as the recipient of this year’s award by the members of the governing board of Play the Game. The winner was announced in Coventry, UK, at Play the Game 2009, the sixth world communication conference on sport and society.

“The merit of Declan Hill is that he is not only seeking sensational stories and case stories of match-fixing, although he has certainly uncovered some,” said Play the Game board member Tine Rindum Teilmann, chairman of the IPC’s Women in Sport Committee and member of the IOC’s Women in Sport Commission.

“But the most compelling parts of the book are those in which Hill describes the size of the illegal gambling industry, and how the main illegal operators use the most advanced technological and psychological tools.”

Hill’s academic and journalistic efforts to uncover match-fixing have been one of the key reasons why the fight against the phenomena is gathering momentum in the sports world.

“When Declan Hill gave his first major speech on match- fixing at Play the Game, the problem was largely ignored by the sports organisation and by society as a whole. Now the situation is different - a number of sports organisations, institutions and betting companies call for international action against what is described as an even bigger threat to sport than doping,” said Teilmann.

“We believe that Declan Hill’s work has been instrumental in raising this new public awareness.”

The Play the Game Award is the latest prize won by Hill, who has also received honours from Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Association of Journalists for his reporting. As Play the Game 2009 Award winner, Hill will be invited as guest of honour to Play the Game 2011, so that future delegates will continue to learn from his research and further the debate on the role on sport in society.

Hill, who holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford where he spent four years researching match-fixing, presented findings from his investigations at the opening ceremony of Play the Game. He also spoke on a panel on match-fixing at a public event hosted at Coventry Cathedral by Play the Game that included former fixer and mafia boss Michael Franzese, Emanuel Macedo de Madeiros, CEO of the European Professional Football Leagues, and Mark Davies, Managing Director of online bookmakers Betfair.

Learn more about the Play the Game Award

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