Jens Weinreich and Andrew Jennings win 2011 Play the Game Award
Two veteran investigative journalists, Jens Weinreich from Germany and Andrew Jennings from the United Kingdom, receive the 2011 Play the Game award in recognition of their tireless work documenting and bringing the enormous levels of mismanagement and corruption in the world's leading sports organisations into public view.
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.
Weinreich and Jennings were selected as the recipients of this year’s award by a committee consisting of board members and directors from the Danish Institute for Sports Studies and Play the Game and the previous award winner, Declan Hill. The winners were announced in Cologne, Germany, at Play the Game 2011, the seventh world communication conference on sport and society.
Announcing the awards, Henrik Brandt, Director of the Institute for Danish Sports Studies, said that it took only a few seconds for the committee to decide that Weinreich and Jennings were this year's obvious candidates for the Play the Award.
"It is not so much the recent work by the two award winners that moves us to give them the award this year. Rather, it is due to the excellent work of the FIFA Executive Board during recent months to highlight the fact that the world’s two most outstanding investigative journalists in the field of sports have been pointing the fingers in the right direction for more than a decade; that leads us to giving them the award."
"They have always been accused of exaggerating the problems in FIFA, but last year has shown that they were understating," Brandt continued.Over the years, Jennings and Weinreich have been despised, criticised and excluded from doing their job by sports leaders, politicians, and even by their own colleagues. Still, they have been determined in pursuing their investigations.
"They not only sought, but also found the documentation, and that is a great achievement which has been fundamental for the world public’s understanding of FIFA as it is today," Brandt said.
Brandt also paid tribute to Weinreich and Jennings' commitment to supporting Play the Game and young journalists wanting to break into the field of investigative sports journalism.
"They are a symbol of the idea of Play the Game, which is that by researching, documenting, exposing, discussing, publishing, co-operating and asking questions in a global network we can help each other and contribute to better sports policies and better sports lives for people all over the world," Brandt said.