High profile Olympic activists and personalities on Play the Game


How can artificial intelligence help uncover cheating in sport on and off the track? Can European football survive the investments of billionaires and the attempts to break up? Will Afghan women ever be allowed to return to the field? Does sport have a chance against climate change? Is the sports justice system failing in its duty to athletes? Are mega-events an effective tool to improve human rights? And how does a national football coach feel when asked about the working conditions of construction workers?

These questions and more will ensure an intense atmosphere as more than 160 speakers tackle some of the most burning challenges in modern sport. Some of them are well known to the general public, some of them will be revelations – and that goes for both the names and the challenges.

Once again, the athlete’s perspective will be very visible. Militant athletes from Afghanistan and Belarus will share their stories of life at the forefront of social struggles for a more democratic society, and representatives of the World Players Association will take part in numerous sessions.

Recently, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission, Emma Terho from Finland, also announced her attendance. She will be joined by IOC Human Rights Officer Magali Martowicz, who will take part in a session on how sport can deal with difficult gender issues.

Although he is no longer an IOC member, Francesco Ricci Bitti is a key player in the power circles of the Olympic Movement as President of ASOIF, the Summer Olympic Sports Association. He will discuss the changing geopolitical landscape of sport with Danish NOC President Hans Natorp, former International Skiing CEO Sarah Lewis, Center for Sport and Human Rights CEO Mary Harvey, and Professor Jules Boykoff of Pacific University, Oregon, USA.

Denmark national football team coach Kasper Hjulmand takes a break from the playing field and shares his thoughts on how football can improve society. Meanwhile, Danish FA President Jesper Møller will discuss the FIFA World Cup in Qatar with Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, and journalists James M. Dorsey and Benjamin Best.

FIFA’s name will also resound when its head of sustainability, Federico Addiechi, discusses sport’s role in climate change with football writer David Goldblatt, climate professor Roger Pielke from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Rikke Rønholt from the Danish NOC Board of Directors.

The best investigators share their knowledge and their tools of the trade

Top crime investigators like Gunter Younger, WADA, and Nick Raudenski, ITA (formerly UEFA and FIFA), will join some of the world’s top investigative journalists like Jens Weinreich, Gritt Hartmann, Nick Harris, James Corbett, Philippe Auclair, Andy Brown, Jack Kerr, Andreas Selliaas, Tariq Panja and many more.

Renowned sports lawyer Richard H. McLaren and his partners will present a new tool to identify cheaters in sports governance, and Martin Purbrick will share data from the Asian Racing Federation on the size of the illegal gambling market and the associated risks .

“It seems almost inappropriate to highlight some names over others when looking at the list of speakers for Play the Game 2022,” says international manager Jens Sejer Andersen who is nevertheless grateful for an impossible task before the conference on 25 anniversary.

“In the early years, people were hesitant to sign up for Play the Game because it could damage their reputation in some quarters if they got into a debate about the darker side of sport. Today we face the positive problem of having more senior experts able and willing to speak than we have program time.

How far the organizers have come in composing themes and talent can be seen in the full conference program which still has a few speaking slots available. Visit our conference site for more information about the conference and access registration.

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