FIFA and IOC won’t investigate China spy case


By Michael Herborn
Nearly a year after the initial incident, the Danish women’s national football team are still waiting to find out who it was that spied on them in a Chinese hotel room at the 2007 Women’s World Cup. Despite protests by the Danish players, FIFA are refusing to investigate claiming the incident is not a sporting matter, while the IOC cites a lack of jurisdiction prevents its Ethics Commission from probing further.

When the Danish women’s team travelled to China for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007, the team were subjected to interruptions, inconveniences and intrusive video surveillance.

From holes mysteriously appearing on pitches overnight and brass bands playing on the sidelines, to secret filming from nearby buildings and even behind a two-way mirror at the team hotel, the Danes appeared to be subject to a campaign of intimidation from their Chinese hosts.

The incidents directly preceded the Danes match against the Chinese, which they lost 3-2 to the hosts.

Despite video and photographic evidence of the interruptions taken by the players, FIFA came to the conclusion that the incident was not a sporting matter and was between the police and the hotel. (See video footage of the two alleged Chinese spies below)

In response to criticism of the decision, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said “this case results from a clear security failure. Measures have been taken and implemented in order that such an incident does not happen again. Regarding the Olympic Games in Beijing, I do trust that all measures have already been planned by the competent bodies.”

Danish footballer Anne Dot Eggers disagrees. Speaking to investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, she rubbished FIFA’s claims that the incident was non-sporting to nature, a version of events that appeared to be agreed between FIFA and the Danish federation in a private meeting.

“This was ridiculous. Everybody knew it was a sporting matter. Why else were those guys spying on us?” says Eggers, reports Jennings on his website “They were trying to disturb us and I think they succeeded in doing that.” (See video of Anne Dot Eggers speaking with Andrew Jennings below)

The Chinese for there part even deny the event took place, despite video evidence to the contrary, according to a statement by a Chinese football association official quoted on

Eggers has not given up the fight for justice, though thus far has met with a blank wall at FIFA. The players’ initial complaint to FIFA was rejected on procedural grounds: “Please note that FIFA cannot reply to matters of such sensitive nature in email form.

Given the significance of the concerns raised in your correspondence, we kindly advise you to forward your email to the Danish association so that they may formalise your complaints through the appropriate channels,” came the response from FIFA official Christian Unger.

When the Danish association general secretary Jim Stjerne Hansen backed FIFA and refused to take the matter further, the players went to the International Olympic Committee to lodge a complaint. Given China’s hosting of the Olympics and IOC member Sepp Blatter’s personal involvement in closing the case, the players feel they have a point to be heard. However, the IOC has refused to get involved, citing a lack of jurisdiction.

In an email to Eggers available on, Secretary of the Ethics Committee Paquerette Girard Zappelli states that the “IOC Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction because there is no documented complaint against the personal activity of an IOC member and that the facts took place during an event organised by an [International Federation] which has the jurisdiction to deal with them.”

As such the Danish players are left in a quandary. The IOC will not investigate the matter further because they believe there is no personal complaint against Blatter, despite the players assertion that he was wrong to personally close the case, and FIFA will not investigate because they argue it is not a sporting matter and the complaint is not coming via the correct channels.

It seems that no one in the sporting world is prepared to investigate why two men were standing behind a closed door at the players’ team meeting with video cameras in hand.

Video 1: Video footage of the two alleged Chinese spies, courtesy of

Video 2: Anne Dot Eggers speaking with Andrew Jennings, courtesy of

For more information, click here to visit Andrew Jennings's website


* required field

What is three plus seven?

Guidelines for posting
Play the Game promotes an open debate on sport and sports politics and we strongly encourage everyone to participate in the discussions on But please follow these simple guidelines when you write a post:

  1. Please be respectful - even if you disagree strongly with certain viewpoints. Slanderous or profane remarks will not be posted.
  2. Please keep to the subject. Spam or solicitations of any kind will not be posted.

Use of cookies

The website uses cookies to provide a user-friendly and relevant website. Cookies provide information about how the website is being used or support special functions such as Twitter feeds. 

By continuing to use this site, you consent to the use of cookies. You can find out more about our use of cookies and personal data in our privacy policy.