PtG Article 26.10.2005

FIFA whistleblower Zen-Ruffinen to speak at Play the Game

Three years ago Michel Zen-Ruffinen had to leave the highest administrative post in world football after a showdown with FIFA's powerful president Sepp Blatter.

On November 10, Zen-Ruffinen will come to Copenhagen to hold the keynote speech at the closing session of the world communication conference, Play the Game, on how international sports federations can become more transparent, responsible and honest.

"Zen-Ruffinen is the highest ranking whistleblower ever in international sport. He put his position on the line in order to bring order to his own house. We could not wish for a better speaker to close Play the Game which main theme is crime and corruption in sport," says Play the Game director, Jens Sejer Andersen.

As Secretary General in FIFA, Zen-Ruffinen and a minority of the members on the board of FIFA reported Blatter to the Swiss police for economic mismanagement of the international football federation. Regardless, Blatter was re-elected president with a convincing majority a few weeks later and after a while the Swiss authorities let the matter drop without even interviewing the key witness Zen-Ruffinen.

Several other international sports federations are troubled by corruption and dubious economic conditions. Zen-Ruffinen will not speak specifically about FIFA at Play the Game. Instead he will concentrate on how you create a healthy management culture in international sports federations.

The presentation will draw on Zen-Ruffinen's experiences from FIFA and his current job as a partner in a law firm that specialises in sports law and as secretary general in a holding company with 27 international trading companies.

During his talk, Michel Zen-Ruffinen will also comment on the guidelines to end corruption in sport which participants in Play the Game will have drawn up with assistance from international corruption-fighters Transparency International.