An increasing part of the aging Danish population are being more active in their spare time. Ditte Toft, Danish journalist and analyst, gives her insight about the amount of elderly people doing sports and how it benefits the society.
Much has been said on the subject of match fixing the last few days of this year’s Play The Game conference.
But what seems to be the case is, that no one really has given much thought about the definition of match fixing.
That was until researcher Karen Jones from T.M.C Asser Instituut, Asser International Sports Law Centre, asked the question: How do you define match fixing?
Don’t invent it, define it
According to the Dutch speaker there is no universal definition of match fixing – only a lot of variations at national, European and international level.
And that is probably one of the key problems when working with legislating match fixing.
“You can’t effectively manage, what you can’t define. There’s no need to create something entirely new, we just need to define what’s already there” she stated, at Wednesdays session.
Seeking a common definition
International sports should be crying out for a common definition that can help public understanding support the national law development, and thereby contribute to harmonization. A common definition could be key in creating good governance in sports.
The lack of clear definition leads to cases, which leave sports ethics on a knifes edge.
Karen Jones herself named the NFL Bounty Scheme as one example of jeopardizing the ethics, and a scheme which according to some definitions could be considered match fixing.
The not so saintly Saints
Last year it was concluded that coaches of the NFL team New Orleans Saints would pay additional bonuses to players causing serious injury to members of the opposing team.
The fees were nominal when the players salary was taken into consideration, but it could be construed as incentive to alter the outcome of a match by injuring the opposing team.
“Under the national american plan it was perceived as match fixing, but according to the European Counsil it wasn’t,” she added.
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.
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.
Fenerbahce won the championship in 2011. They did that with an impressive winning streak, as 16 out of the last 17 games in the season were won.
But many people found that suspicious and police launched an investigation finding six clubs guilty of match-fixing.
Among the suspects was the president of Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim. He was sentenced to six years and three months of imprisonment, but he is still the president of Fenerbahce, while he is waiting for the outcome of an appeal
The Turkish Football Federation was run by Mehmet Ali Aydınlar. He is a former board member of Fenerbahce, and a well known passionate fan.
”I do not want to be remembered as the president who relegated Fenerbahce. People who question my love for Fenerbahce, did not serve the club as much as I did”, said Mehmet Ali Aydınlar shortly after he stepped down as president.
Now he is running for president of Fenerbahce.
The national team suffers
”The Turkish people now see football as a theatre. They think that everything is settled before the games” said Turkish journalist, Gamze Bal, at Play the Game in Aarhus.
Because of the involvement of members of The Turkish Football Federation, the national team feels the consequences of the scandal.
”When the national team plays, the stands are almost empty. People don’t even support the team, because the Turkish Football Federation is run by corrupted figures”, says Gamze Bal.
In the last few days at the Play the Game conference it has been well confirmed, that match-fixing is indeed a problem locally, nationally and internationally.
A lot of solutions to dealing with match-fixing via both disciplinary action and criminal law has been suggested.
But who will protect the interests of the athletes if the hunt for match-fixers turn into a witch hunt, and someone unjustly takes the fall?
Life or six months
Speaker Katarina Pijetlovic presented an interesting case of recent match-fixing cases in tennis, where high profile players, including Daniel Köllerer, was sentenced to lifetime bans and large fines by the Tennis Integrity Unit, on the basis of very little evidence.
It was one man’s word against another – the accused against the accuser.
Players suspected of similar crimes, who confessed, was sentenced much more leniently with bans of only six months and fines of 3000 dollars. Making it the more appealing choice, to actually admit to match-fixing – guilty or not.
Void and null
The agreement the players have to sign is legally void, because none of the terms has been negotiated with the affected players before they sign.
“The wawer the players has to sign to play professionally takes away their right of appeal, and by signing it, they agree that they can be charged with crimes based on a low standard of evidence,” Katarina Pijetlovic explained.
None the less, the players have to sign the agreement and follow its rules, because they have no other choice, if they want to be a part of the pro-leagues.
Involvement in football was an essential factor in shaping the incumbent president of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes, political career. Daniel Chung, a journalist from Paraguay himself, gives you the full story in the video below.
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: