PtG Article 13.06.2023

Play the Game 2024 announces conference name, main themes and call for papers

For its 13th conference, Play the Game invites you to engage in open, fact-based and constructive debates on themes that are essential to the future of sport. You can now submit your abstract or storyline for Play the Game 2024.

In the winter of 2024, Play the Game will for the 13th time open the doors for four days of intense debate on the most important issues in international sport. Play the Game 2024 will take place in the city of Trondheim in Norway on 4-7 February 2024 and will continue Play the Game's pursuit of democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in sport.

The title for Play the Game 2024 will be ‘Clearing sport, sparking change’ – reflecting Play the Game’s ambition to stage unrestricted, fact-based and constructive debates in order to bring positive change in a dynamic sports political landscape.

Main themes for Play the Game 2024

The main themes for Play the Game 2024 have been selected in collaboration with the programme committee appointed by the board of Play the Game and the Danish Institute for Sports Studies.

“Since 1997, the Play the Game conferences have helped raise international awareness of key sports topics, not least due to the many inputs provided by the programme committee. This includes suggestions on which concrete and important themes Play the Game 2024 should address, as well as specific angles, speakers, session formats, and ideas on how to secure diversity,” says Stanis Elsborg, head of conference at Play the Game.

The main themes are:

  • Autocracy vs. democracy: Which side is sport playing for?
  • Clearing sport: Countering crime, protecting integrity
  • Can sport be sustainable? The impact on climate and the environment
  • Sports journalism: A watchdog for society or a pet for showbiz?
  • Abuse and agony: How can sports organisations effectively safeguard athletes?
  • Pursuing diversity: How to make up for power imbalances in sport?
  • In the wake of scandal: What is the future of anti-doping?

“Play the Game 2024 will once again address some of the most topical issues in world sport, from the multifaceted relationship between sport and cybercrime to as the ongoing problem with abuse in sport, crime, match-fixing, and doping. We are also pleased that there has been a particular desire to return to a mainstay of Play the Game, namely investigative journalism,” says Stanis Elsborg.

He adds that a special focus will be given to follow up on the call from Play the Game participants in 2022 to explore the establishment of an agency initiative countering crime and protecting the integrity of world sport. To nurture this debate, Play the Game recently released a report entitled 'ClearingSport: Towards an agency countering crime and protecting integrity in world sport.'

In the overview of the conference themes, you can find more detailed information about what is behind each headline.

Call for papers

In its call for papers, Play the Game 2024 invites all academics, journalists, athlete representatives, sports officials, and other stakeholders to contribute knowledge, experience and debate at the upcoming conference.

"While our call for papers may sound academically focused, we recognise the immense value in hearing from beyond academia. We encourage journalists, storytellers, and individuals from various disciplines to share their knowledge within this year’s thematic framework. It is through the convergence of diverse voices that we can truly unravel the complexities of sport and drive meaningful change," says Stanis Elsborg.

Although no topics are excluded in advance, the main themes listed above selected by Play the Game and its programme committee are expected to be particularly relevant. If you would like to submit an abstract for Play the Game 2024 you can find more information in our call for papers.

Become a programme partner and launch your projects or journalistic work

Individuals, research groups, organisations, or companies that wish to organise their own sessions, may become programme partners upon further agreement. Organising your own session will typically imply a responsibility of inviting a small group of presenters/panellists for the purpose.

Also, if you are preparing a major research project, a campaign, or similar initiatives with relevance for the international sports debate, Play the Game 2024 invites you to use our conference to launch your project internationally.

Play the Game expects the participation of at least 100 journalists representing media across the globe which makes the conference an ideal platform for reaching a worldwide audience and building lasting working relations.

Questions and contact

Abstract submission or programme issues: Head of conference Stanis Elsborg,, or +45 61 77 49 15

Logistics: Conference manager Maria Suurballe, or +45 20 20 68 38.

Read more about the conference

Conference themes