PtG Article 29.09.2015

Detailed programme and over 125 speakers ready for Play the Game 2015

See the list of high profile experts, whistleblowers and policy makers who will engage in discussions of how to tackle corruption, doping, match-fixing, lifestyle changes and other burning issues in international sport.

With a little more than three weeks to go, Play the Game 2015 can now present a full tentative programme that heralds another cutting-edge, lively festival for the international sports political debate.

And if you think it is all about FIFA, you will have to think twice.

From the opening speeches by the Danish Minister of Culture, Bertel Haarder, and the president of the parliamentarians gathered under the Council of Europe, Anne Brasseur, and until the conference three days later winds up the debates by focusing on the draft UNESCO Charter on sport and physical activity, Play the Game will highlight a wide range of topical issues, engaging internationally leading experts and policy makers in an open, unrestricted exchange of knowledge and viewpoints.

Grassroot activists, executives from the upper echelons of sport, leading investigative journalists, academics from all corners of the world, top officials from EU, the Council of Europe, UNESCO and other public bodies… they will all gather at Play the Game 2015 to screen the problems affecting sport and try to find solutions.

You will meet people in as different positions as Jean-Claude Mbvoumin, who founded the NGO Foot Solidaire in order to help young African footballers who were victims of unscrupulous exploitation, and the Canadian Richard W. Pound who is the longest serving IOC member and one of the sharpest critics of his peers.

Another Canadian, Bob Munro, has spent more than half of his life in Kenya, fighting football corruption and inspiring thousands of young inhabitants in the slum to take responsibility of their local community through involvement in sport.

Sarah Lewis, CEO of the International Ski Federation, is heavily involved in overcoming the sustainability challenges for the major sports events as a co-author of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reform package.

At Play the Game 2015, she will explain the reform plans to skeptics like, among others, professor Andrew Zimbalist from the USA, internationally acclaimed sports economist. They will both receive comments from the sideline of sport, represented by Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environmental Agency and an avid observer of sports politics.

Donati returns to Play the Game

After six years of absence and studies of the international cocaine trade, the Italian anti-doping fighter Sandro Donati returns to the international doping debate with a demand for more honesty in the anti-doping structures.

He is complemented by Hajo Seppelt, the German investigative journalist behind the most controversial TV programmes in recent years, accusing the IAAF, WADA and Russian athletics for negligence or outright corruption in the fight against doping.

As so often before, WADA is ready to face its critics and will be represented by Frédéric Donzé, Director of International Relations. And the Danish anti-doping authorities will show how several years of research has led to a ground-breaking report on how doping in Danish and international cycling is organised and can be countered.

But FIFA? Of course Play the Game will not forget the organisation whose internal corruption the conference has exposed at each conference since the year 2000, thanks to excellent investigative journalists and whistleblowers.

The former Deputy Secretary General and candidate for the FIFA Presidency this year, Jérôme Champagne, will discuss the future of FIFA with activists like Bonita Mersiades and Jaimie Fuller, and we are still hopeful that representatives of FIFA’s present and future will join the debates like it happened for the first time in 2013.

Sports governance report to be published

Last, but not least, Play the Game is happy to launch the result of three years of cooperation with six European universities: The Sports Governance Observer report, the first full-bodied analysis of the governance standards of all 35 Olympic international sports federations.

The report and other attempts to improve sports governance will be discussed by experienced officials like Pâquerette Girard-Zappelli, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of the IOC, Wilhelm Rauch, Head of legal services at the Swiss Federal Office for Sport.

There is still time to register and add your voice to the debates for the entire conference or a few days.

Mentioning names also means leaving names out, and there are plenty of other brilliant people and organisations to find on our homepage.If these highlights were not to your personal taste, then take a look at the full sports political menu at


More about Play the Game 2015

Play the Game 2015 takes place in Aarhus, Denmark from 25-29 October at the Marselis Aarhus Hotel.
More about Play the Game 2015 on the conference website