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Monday, September 23, 2019

No Holds Barred: Jens Sejer Andersen on Olympic Scandals, Athlete Power, and 2019 Play the Game Conference 


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

This year's conference, the 11th of Play the Game's biannual events, will be the first one taking place outside Europe and in the U.S. It will take place October 13-16, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Colorado Springs.

This is THE major world event advocating sport reform. More details on the conference can be seen here.

We spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen by Skype Monday.

World sport has been beset by a seemingly endless and growing number of scandals, including the FIFA corruption and bribery scandals, the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal, the rape and sexual assault scandals in many sports, and countless more. But there has been "one very interesting impact of the combination of scandals," Jens Sejer Andersen noted.

"It is that athletes now, especially elite athletes of course, are starting to speak up. They are starting to say, 'Hey, we do not really feel protected by our top leaders. We do not feel our interests are represented well,'" he said.

"And that is a trend, a global trend now, that more and more elite athletes organize in unions, or they form interest groups, or they form independent committees to take care of their interests vis-a-vis their national and international federations.

"And that's why we have called our conference this time, the subtitle is 'Athlete Power On The Rise'."

We discussed this trend of the rise of athlete activism, why this year's conference is in the U.S., what may happen with the re-opening of the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal due to new allegations of tampering with the data retrieved from the Moscow lab, the effect of these scandals on the future of the Olympic Games and movement, how the fight against sports corruption has broken some "taboos", and much, much more.

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