Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

No Holds Barred: Jens Sejer Andersen of Play the Game on Corruption and the Culture of Silence in Sport 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman speaks with Jens Sejer Andersen, the international director of Play the Game.

Based in Denmark, Play the Game is an international conference and communication initiative aiming to strengthen the ethical foundation of sport and promote democracy, transparency, and freedom of expression in sport.

We spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen on Friday via Skype about some of the latest developments in the battle against corruption in sport. He explained how a "culture of silence" towards the many facets of corruption characterizes sport worldwide. We discussed the latest scandals involving members of the international football federation FIFA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the now-defunct marketing agency ISL, which was accused of paying millions of dollars in bribes to top sports officials around the world. In October, the Play the Game conference called on the IOC to lead the struggle against corruption in sport. However, by failing to act and speak decisively on the ISL scandal, Jens Andersen now argued that the IOC "has disqualified itself" from a leadership role in this struggle. We discussed how what happens in world football, the most popular sport in the world, affects world sport as a whole, including the combat sports. And we examined some ideas about what those of us who stand against corruption in sport must do.

In the combat sports, recent attention has been given to a series of "jokes" made about rape by UFC fighters Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, and Miguel Torres. We comment on the implications of that, and read a statement about this issue by journalist, writer, activist, and sexual abuse survivor Emmily Bristol.

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