FULL-TIME: An Analysis – Sunday 26 November

On the Game 17 presents: HIGHLIGHTS from the 10th Play the Game conference:
OPENING  SESSION – Sunday, 26th November
Director of Play the Game/The Danish Institute of Sport Studies, Henrik H. Brandt urged, “let us not forget the soft issues in sport” and “if sports organisations are not able to reform… they will lose relevance to an extent we cannot imagine.”

Our live stream interview with Henrik can be found by clicking here


International Director, Jens Sejer Andersen said that Play the Game remains “a home for the homeless questions in sport” and that “we have to keep breaking the silence when we find it.”
A final message – “Let us not be intimidated. Let us all continue to do our best to find the truth and share it, let us engage in dialogue and debate across borders, sports disciplines and professions, also and especially when debate is difficult.”

Read Jen’s full speech posted by Play the Game here

Travis Tygart, CEO of United States Anti-Doping Agency in his talk titled ‘Foxes in the Hen House: don’t clean athletes deserve an independent and strengthened WADA?’:

 “The road to reform starts with independence.. So that every athlete knows that they can win clean and that any other victory, is not truly a victory.” – Travis Tygart


Snežana Samardžić-Marković, Director General of Democracy at the Council of Europe addressed participants in the opening session, speaking about making sports a safe place for both adults and children.  “1 in 5 children in Europe are victims of some form of sexual violence. The practise of sports is unfortunately not immune. We can work together… to better respond to it when it occurs.”

This year, a main session focussed on sexual abuse and how to prevent it.

The panel discussing sexual abuse and how to prevent it, Sunday 26 November.
















Karen M. Leach, a former swimmer who dreamed of representing Ireland at the Olympics, read her testimony, titled A Dream Destroyed and Lives Shattered.

You can read Karen’s story here.

Bettina Rulofs, Senior lecturer at the Institute of Sociology and Gender Studies in Germany spoke about her

joint study conducted, (Ohlert, Rau, Rulofs & Allroggen (2016) – results can be seen here, hover mouse over the graph to see the stats).

Rulofs spoke of the “family-like structures in sports, with many close relationships and dependencies.’

There is also a selection process in sport:  “The chosen one hinders one to speak out about the abuse”

There are interrelations between different types of violence, and this can be seen on the chart.

Progress is in the making:

Germany has voiced their intention to take extra measures to combat the issue of sexual violence. To read more, click here

Rulofs is a part of VOICEs for truth and dignity combatting sexual violence in European sport. Karen Leach is also a VOICEs ambassador. Visit VOICEs website here to find out more.

Willem Feenstra, journalist at De Volkskrant in the Netherlands said how journalism can cause a breakthrough in the debate on sexual abuse:

Willem Feenstra explaining the three questions journalists at De Volkskrant had about reporting on sexual abuse. Photo: Simone West/ On the Game 17

Geert Slot, information officer and spokesman for NOC*NSF (The Dutch Olympic Committee*Dutch Sports Federation) presented on why there was an independent inquiry into sexual abuse in the Netherlands. First steps were taken after December 2016, when publicity in Netherlands from women’s cycling (De Vries/De Bruin) and other stories came to light.

Slot: “It’s our duty to make efforts to ensure that abuse in sport is limited.”

Sander Roege, consultant at Dutch Football Club PSV Eindhoven, spoke of his experience hearing five different survivors tell their stories after years of silence and about the healing process when victims meet other victims. PSV has been open and willing to speak about sexual abuse happening inside the club.

George Nikolaidis, Psychiatrist and Director at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Greece) said “we should provide a safe environment for professionals.” He spoke of recent initiatives and the role of the Council of Europe, and said ‘we cannot support male chauvinism’ or machismo in sports.

To read more about Nikolaidis’ presentation, click here

Brief key findings of the National Sports Governance Observer simplified:

Meanwhile, at the National Sports Governance Observer: The first results and future session, Arnout Geeraert, Post-doctoral fellow at KU Leuven/Play the Game said “from a debate comes action” and sent our team into a twitter typing frenzy:


It looks like we are out of time.

That’s all for Sunday’s events. As we are a newsroom of eight – unfortunately we could not attend every session but we did our best to cover a vast array of topics! Head to http://onthegame17.com/category/full-time-an-analysis/ for Full-Time- An Analysis by Simone West which will be posted tomorrow. 


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