PtG Article 24.11.2011

Expert Group looks into sports management

Play the Game has received a large grant from the EU to analyse administration and management in international sports organisations in cooperation with an international group of experts.

Rarely a week goes by without grave reports surfacing about voting scandals, mandate fraud, secret accounts or embezzlement in relation to key figures including those voted in confidence to lead sport’s international organisations.  For many years Play the Game has worked on exposing and debating the considerable shortage of democracy, openness and economic transparency in many of the sports world’s international organisations.

Now, thanks to a 198,000 euro grant from the European Commission’s Sport Unit, Play the Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies (Idan) have the opportunity to look for solutions to the blatant problems in international sport in cooperation with a European expert group. Play the Game/Idan’s project "Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations" was among 12 projects chosen from a total of 106 applications awarded funding from the European Commission in October to contribute to the Commission’s so-called ‘Preparatory Actions’ initiative which will pave the way for the EU’s future strategies in the field of sport. “The Commission’s funding of 198,000 Euro to Play the Game and the involvement of seven collaborative partners indicates official recognition of sport’s serious problems with corruption, poor management and inadequate democracy,” says Director Henrik H. Brandt from Idan/Play the Game.“At the same time, the grant is also an acknowledgement of Play the Game’s work in putting these problems to constructive debate. With this grant we have secured the opportunity to work in the coming two years with a group of absolute experts in the field from six different countries to develop concrete proposals on how sport’s international organisations can function more in tune with the times.”Analysis of administration and democratic practiceThe expert group will hold three meetings during the course of the project. The first will be held in Copenhagen on 25-26 January 2012. The final organisation and methodology of the project will be decided at the first meeting, seeing as the very idea of gathering the expert group is to bring its experience and ideas into the ongoing development of the project. As a minimum the project aims to:

  • Create a set of guidelines for good governance in sport based on the best available knowledge and best practices in the form of a written publication. The guidelines must be useable and fit for implementation in international sports organisations; they will be published in a final report in a 'layouted' format.
  • Suggest frameworks for qualifying the ongoing public debate about sports governance the EU, through the media, stakeholder networking, educational activities, seminars and other events.
  • Stimulate knowledge, awareness and public debate about issues related to good governance in sport through extensive use of the communication platforms of Play the Game and its partners through the entire project period and beyond.

Play the Game will coordinate and produce a report on the project. The expert group consists of the following international members who will contribute to the project:

  • Hans Bruyninckx, Professor of Political Science and Director HIVA - Research Institute for Work and Society, University of Leuven, Belgium
  • Maarten van Bottenburg, Professor of Sport Development, Utrecht University, Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, School of Governance (USG), The Netherlands
  • Jean-Loup Chappelet, Professor and Director, IDHEAP (Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration), Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Barrie Houlihan, professor, Institute of Sport and Leisure Policy, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Loughborough, UK
  • Jürgen Mittag, Professor, Head of the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies at German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • Dr. Michael Groll, Researcher at the the Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies at German Sport University Cologne, Germany
  • Wilfried Ruetten, Director, European Journalism Centre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Simona Kustec Lipicer, Associate professor, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Further information:

Play the Game International Director Jens Sejer Andersen.Play the Game/Danish Institute for Sports Studies Director Henrik H. Brandt. Read more about the European Commission's Preparatory Actions.