PtG Article 19.03.2007

Iceland's President to open Play the Game conference

The Icelandic President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, has agreed to speak at the opening of the next Play the Game conference, which will take place between 28 October and 2 November 2007 in Reykjavik.

Play the Game expects to host a gathering of 3-400 journalists, sports academics and sports leaders from across the world to debate upon how doping, corruption, inactive lifestyle and other challenges for world sport can be tackled.

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The Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (left) received Play the Game's Jens Sejer Andersen (right) on 26 February and confirmed that he will open Play the Game 2007 in Reykjavik.

“Iceland is one of the world’s most corruption-free nations and has a-thousand-year-old tradition of solving problems through debate and dialogue. These are values that we would like to share with the sporting world, and we look forward to receiving sports guests from all corners of the globe,” says Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson.

In addition to being Iceland’s president since 1996, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson is himself one of the sports leaders engaged in the positive interaction between sport and society. Since 2004, he has been a board member for the Special Olympics, an international organisation that works for children and adults with mental disabilities to offer them opportunities to participate in Olympic-type sport.

”My experience with the Special Olympics has been one of my most deeply moving personal experiences during my time as President,” says Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who is also strongly involved in the fight against doping in his homeland.

The conference organisers, Play the Game, are of course happy with the support given by the Icelandic head of state.

”We are honoured by the President’s engagement and must also say that the idea of Play the Game has been met with incredible goodwill amongst the Icelandic sports community. We have been confirmed in our belief that Iceland was the right choice as host country for the next Play the Game,” says the institution’s director Jens Sejer Andersen.

The conference this autumn will be held in cooperation with the Icelandic youth and sports organisation UMFI, to mark their 100 years anniversary.

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