PtG Article 26.09.2018

Play the Game reveals groundbreaking mapping of governance in sports

Save the date: On Tuesday 13 November, international experts and keynote speakers will launch and discuss new data on European and international sports governance at a seminar in Leuven, Belgium. Join the event for free.

Nobody following the sports debate can doubt that better governance has become a top political demand on the agenda around the world. But what is the real impact of talking and producing papers and surveys? Do sports organisations really change, or are they just dressing their windows?

This will be the key questions when Play the Game gathers top international experts and sports leaders at a one-day seminar on Tuesday 13 November in Leuven, Belgium.

The seminar will reveal new studies on national as well as international sports governance, offering new knowledge about how well sport organisations comply with international governance standards.

Dr. Arnout Geeraert from KU Leuven and Utrecht University will present an update of the Sports Governance Observer, which in 2015 drew international attention by showing that 2/3 of the 35 international Olympic federations did not live up to even half of the basic minimum requirements for good governance. After reforms in FIFA and IAAF, how much has really changed?

Moreover, experts from nine European countries plus Brazil will be around to launch and discuss the results of the National Sports Governance Observer (NSGO), an EU funded study carried out among the most important sports federations in Belgium (Flanders), Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, and Brazil.

“In seven of the ten countries, the NSGO has led to a close cooperation between our researchers on one side, and the sports movement, the government or both on the other, with a view to improving national sports governance standards,” says Jens Sejer Andersen, international director of Play the Game.

“We think that sharing these hands-on experiences from the national settings can be an inspiration to sports leaders and policy makers across Europe. And adding the international dimension will allow us to present a broad picture about the status of sports governance today.”

The detailed programme for the seminar is still a work in progress. But during the day participants will hear experiences from the coalface of governance work in sport and get an opportunity to engage in discussions about the right level of public regulations on the traditionally autonomous sports movement.

One of the confirmed speakers, Professor Miguel Maduro, who was heading FIFA’s governance committee until deciding to ban the Russian minister Vitaly Mutko from running for the FIFA Council, will talk about his short time on the inside of FIFA to provide participants with a more personal experience on how to handle good governance issues in an highly politicised environment. Play the Game expects both critics and sports officials to join the debate with a variety of evidence and viewpoints.

Practical informationThe seminar takes place at Park Inn by Radisson Leuven Hotel from 10-17 on Tuesday 13 November 2018. Participation is free, including lunch and coffee breaks, and registration is open.

Please note that the capacity is limited. We offer participation free of charge for the first 50 registered persons. Subsequent registrations will be charged DKK 450 (= EUR 60 - prices will be shown in DKK). After the first 50 registrations the system will ask for payment.

The detailed programme will be available shortly. A networking dinner will be arranged in the evening at extra costs.

Register here

Keep yourself updated on the event by registering for Play the Game’s free newsletter.


NSGO in brief


The NSGO is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme in the European Union, and a special grant from the Danish parliament has allowed Play the Game to include Montenegro and Brazil at an early stage. Recently, countries like Australia, Canada, Colombia, Georgia, Lithuania, Peru, Spain, and the USA have joined the project or are about doing so. The Erasmus+ grant expires at the end of 2018, but Play the Game will continue to raise funds to accommodate the growing international interest.

Read more about the National Sports Governance Observer