Category Archives: OTHER

”FIFA are a bunch of hypocritical liars”

Walter and Andrew
Walter de Gregorio to the left and Andrew Jennings disagrees on whether FIFA is doing good or bad. Photo: Simon Tordrup

Todays biggest topic at the Play the Game in Aarhus was FIFA’s first ever apperance at the conference.

Walter de Gregorio, FIFA’s director of communication, was the represent for the International Football Federation and among the topics discussed were the election of Russia and Qatar as hosts for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022.

The famous FIFA critical journalist, Andrew Jennings, was present when De Gregorio took the stage and answered questions from the audience.

Accuses FIFA for lying

And Jennings was not impressed by De Gregorios statements.

”FIFA is a bunch of lying crooks. No matter what they say, they are in for the money. They are a bunch of thiefs.” Jennings claims.

There has been a big discussion in the sports world about the election of Russia and Qatar as hosts for the World Cup because of their laws and lack of human rights.

Russia passed a law this year that criminalizes “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors” and has been critized for this from the international society.

Racist chanting in Russia

And last week the Manchester City player Yaya Toure claimed that there was racist chanting from the Russian team CSKA Moscow’s supporters.

Jennings and other critics have expressed that FIFA should take this into consideration about Russias World Cup hosting. But De Gregorio said earlier today at the conference that it isn’t that easy.

“Everybody talks about racism. I completely agree that the problem should be adressed. But what do you do? How do you know that five persons in a stadium being racist are not manipulated. That would be very easy to do. How can you prevent that?” De Gregorio said.

Jennings disagree

But Jennings belives that this is empty talk from FIFA’s side.

”There’s is a problem. We all know that. FIFA could say to Russia: You need to change this because it’s important for us. And if you don’t, then we are not coming. The sport organisations like FIFA have manifestos and mission statements and all this shit where they talk about human rights and respect for people. But they only care about the money.” Jennings said.

”And then we have the homophobic problem. The thing is that they made a law about that gays can’t have same rights. It’s not just an attitude. It’s a law. FIFA should react and say that it isn’t acceptable. But they don’t care about the homophobic law in Russia. For them we are a bunch of liberals making to much noise. It’s not their concern.”

Disagrement on human standards

De Gregorio stressed that countries should have a human minimum standard. But stated that many Western countries also have problems. De Gregorio asked if USA could host with Guantanamo? He also belives that Qatar will make changes, now that the whole world is looking at them.

Not surprisingly, Jennings didn’t agree.

”But theres is a difference between these countries. In the USA you are allowed to demonstrate against Guantanamo. If you demonstrate againt the homophobic law in Russia and in Qatar, who have the same rule, you could go to prison.” Jennings said.

Jennings: FIFA is hypocritical

”Why should Qatar change? They got the World Cup. And obviously they can’t lose it because FIFA don’t care. FIFA is hypocritical. On one hand they have these statements for women rights and they support women football. And on the other hand they give the World Cup to a country where women can’t show their faces. Its a discrase. Its simple: FIFA is a bunch of hypocritical liars,” Jennings says.

You can also watch Andrew Jennings and Walter de Gregorio talking about other FIFA topics in the videos below.




Smart Journalists don’t do Sports Journalism – Or do They?

Our reporter followed the session today on sports media research, and some important points were brought to the surface.

One of the speakers was Brazilian PhD student Tatiane Hilgemberg, who spoke about her research on the media coverage of the World Cup on January 28, 2013, which marked the day where the World Cup was exactly 500 days away.

She was disappointed in the Brazilian journalists, and according to her, important issues were not being raised.

Part of the reason for this was that journalists in Brazil aren’t among the brightest of thinkers, Tatiane Hilgemberg states.

See what else Tatiane Hilgemberg had to say, along with other interesting points from the session here:

VIDEO: Critical Sports Journalism is Wanted

The sport industry is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world. However, critical and investigative sport journalism is still a rare sight in mainstream media.

Lars Andersson is the editor in chief of the Danish online magazine Sport Executive. The magazine takes a different focus on the world of sports with stories about human rights, corruption, gender issues and child labor in sports.

Andersson is concerned about the sport reporting done by mainstream media. He is convinced that sport news today mainly serves as entertainment, while the more important aspects of the sport industry gets left out.




Get the Highlights from FIFA’s First Appearance at Play the Game Here

Walter and Andrew
Walter de Gregorio, director of communication, FIFA and Andrew Jennings, investigative journalist are talking after the session. Photo: Simon Tordrup

For the first time ever, one of the world’s most powerful sports organizations FIFA, The International Football Federation, is officially present at Play the Game.

Among the topics discussed were racism in football, governance in FIFA and the election of Russia and Qatar as hosts for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022 both elected at the same FIFA-conference.

“The problem is that if you have two World Cups to award, there can be made deals. It was a major mistake to choose both hosts at the same conference,” Walter de Gregorio, FIFA’s director of communication, said during the session.

Below you can read the live blog from the heated debate between the speakers and the crowd, among others the well-known investigative journalist Andrew Jennings.

“Sports organisations should be as open as possible”

Frank van Eekeren, Senior Consultant and co-researcher on the AGGIS-project, at yesterday’s Workshop – Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations. Photo: Jannik Toft Friis

The lack of good governance is without a doubt one of the biggest threats in sports. That is why transparency and openness is needed.

“All sports organisations should be as open as possible. Because that is, what transparency is all about,” Frank Van Eekeren, Senior Consultant and co-researcher on the AGGIS-project, noted Tuesday morning at the Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations workshop at PlayTheGame 2013.

Although we, in the western world, are used to transparency, not all organisations respond to the demand of openness. That is why action needs to be taken.

Crying for external pressure

If organisations refuse to cooperate, external pressure is needed.

That can happen through evidence-based research and by including the organisations and making them understand the importance of good governance. Furthermore making the organisations aware, that research to help them is being made.

“We have to make them understand, that we are not only there to shout, but also to help organisations,” says Arnout Geeraert, PhD and co-researcher on the AGGIS-project.

The EU also in the fight for good governance

The EU is also aware of the lack of transparency in sports organisations, and in recent years the have gradually joining the fight for good governance internationally.

And acoording to Morten Løkkegaard, Danish member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education, we need to force the sports organisations to be cooperative, e.g. by naming and shaming those, who neglect democracy and transparency.

The Danish point of view:

Tuesday at the conference, we cornered the Danish editor of Play the Game Søren Bang and asked him, what he thought was the biggest threat to sport today.

See the full video here:



PtG-Participants: The Best Fun so Far

After a long day with intense debates and discussions the participants at Play the Game 2013 had the opportunity to go and get some excercise in Aarhus Tuesday evening.

Basketball, badminton and soccer was some of the most popular sports and the participants really enjoyed the break away from the conference.

Check out some of the highlights from last night in the video below.




Sports Governance Observer: A Tool to Secure Transparency and Accountability

In a world where big money can be made by match-fixers and corrupted masterminds, the need for democratic representation, accountability and transparency is even more important.

Therefore a group of researchers collaborated on a joint venture, and created a tool to improve governance in sports.

We need to help the sports organizations to create good governance,” Arnout Geeraerts, PhD Student and co-researcher on the Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations, stated on Tuesday’s workshop at the Play the Game 2013 conference.

Four main domains

According to the researchers there are four main domains of good governance – transparency and public communication, democratic process, checks and balances and solidarity distributed on 47 indicators.

When identifying governance in a specific sports organization all 47 indicators have to be taken into account, and are given a 1-5 score in a scoring system showing the level of governance and transparency.

Although the sports governance observer is still under development, Tuesday’s workshop at Play the Game 2013 showed a great consensus about its eligibility in the fight against the lack of good governance.

Next step is a big review 

“Not much has been done when it comes to international sports governance,” Arnout Geeraerts noted.

The next step for the sports governance observer is to review 35 big global actors.

See the full version and learn more about the AGGIS Sports Governance Observer on