PtG Article 06.11.2005

Play the Game honours absent friends

The fourth Play the Game communication conference on sport and society got underway, November 6, with a speech by Director Jens Sejr Andersen, who welcomed all those attending the 'biggest-ever international event focusing on corruption in sport'.

However, he also expressed his disappointment that some of those who should be at the event were unable, or unwilling, to attend.

These include Zaw Thet Htwe, the former Burmese newspaper editor charged with high treason and sentenced to death - later reduced to 18 months' imprisonment - after questioning financial irregularities in Burmese soccer.

Also on the list of abseentees were representatives from football's ruling body, FIFA.

Jens Sejer Andersen expressed his surprise that even though FIFA had been invited to provide speakers on almost every topic discussed at Play the Game, it had flatly rejected all invitations without explanation. He pointed out that the old adage 'power corrupts' is no truer than in sport.

World Anti Doping Authority (WADA) Vice President and Danish Culture Minister Brian Mikkelsen, stated that the biggest threat to sport can be summarised in one word - cheating.

There is no such thing as 'cheating lite', he said. Cheating has many forms, but essentially, you either play it straight or you don't.

The aim of the conference, he stated, is to expose not only the good, but also the bad and ugly aspects of sport. And like the famous spaghetti western, all principal players need to co-operate with each other in order to achieve the prize.

In the case of sport, the key players are administrators, coaches, officials and the sportspeople themselves, and the prize is a clean, honest and ethical sports world. The role of the media is crucial, he added, as it has a huge responsibility to cover sport in a balanced and realistic fashion.

Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Culture, opens Play the Game


Official high resolution pictures from the conference are provided by photographer Niels Nyholm.

You are free to download them and use them on your website and in printed material provided you credit Play the Game and photographer Niels Nyholm.

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