PtG Article 20.09.2005

Journalism - an unconscious lubricant of the sports complex

“Journalism is mostly a lubricant facilitating the smooth working of the sports complex and bringing it into a rewarding relationship with world populations. Journalism is not really as aware of it as it should be and therefore we welcome Play the Game under our roof.”

Director Kim Minke from the Danish School of Journalism extended a warm welcome to Play the Game at the official opening day for the organisation’s office at the biggest Danish institution for journalism education with 1100 students.

Kim Minke believes that Play the Game has important work to do and compared the modern sports complex in terms of importance to the military-industrial complex - a term coined by the US president Eisenhower in the 1950's. 

“We are looking at a complex of media, advertising, governments, investment bankers, stadium architects and owners, bookmakers, manufacturers of sports goods, sports associations and Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show,” he said.

Do they celebrate a good game or a good fix? Freelance journalist Declan Hill talked about his phd-research into the mechanisms of match fixing in soccer. Photo: John Trane

“The sports conglomerate is a giant economic entity producing mostly symbolic value. Even your shoes from Nike is mostly symbolic value and not the petty value of the bits of plastic and rubber and cheap labour that goes into producing it.“

"Sport is global big politics and big business. Sport has become so big that we often forget it is play  - it is what children do for fun, it is what British gentlemen did for fun, it is what you and I do for fun. We used to gather in clubs for sporting activities, but today the biggest clubs are not clubs proper, but brands, and we are not members or supporters but consumers."

Kim Minke applauded Play the Game’s decision to place its office at the school in Aarhus.

“We welcome Play the Game under our roof because we anticipate that you will challenge us to stretch our minds and see and understand better what we are part of and so help us do a better job as journalists,” said Kim Minke.

He spoke to an audience composed of journalism students and sports organisations, donors and friends of Play the Game.

The opening day continued with lectures by Sandro Donati, head of research at the Italian Olympic Committee, and freelance journalist and phd-researcher Declan Hill. Both gave tasters of their upcoming contributions to the main Play the Game conference in November with presentations on doping and the mafia and match fixing respectively.