It was the best of trials. It was the worst of conferences.

It was the best of trials. It was the worst of conferences. Lets start with the best. In Paris, last week, a proverbial rocket hit the world of sport. The former head of the International Athletic Association Federations (IAAF) - Lamine Diack - was convicted of collecting millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.The actual scheme was shocking. Diack, along with many of his top aides - including his ‘thug’ son (his words) - was running a racket where athletes,...

Read more...

How to Survive an International Sports Integrity Conference

You ain’t in Kansas anymore Dorothy. Back in the day, international sports integrity conferences - like Play the Game, happening right now in Colorado Springs - were jovial affairs where independent journalists, saddened whistle-blowers and beleaguered sports officials could meet, chat, drink and sometimes dance. Now, everything has changed. Sports are battle grounds of geopolitical soft power. Hard power is the idea that you can conquer another country with tanks, planes and lots of death. Soft power is the idea that you can...

Read more...

Poor, Old Qatar: labour conditions and the compromised fight against match-fixing

The timing could not be better. Just as the sporting world endures another hot-air session a.k.a. an international conference on match-fixing sponsored by the Qatar 2022 World Cup Committee, out comes a new report on labour conditions in Qatar and the building of the World Cup infrastructure and stadiums. The report,  by the external company charged by FIFA to monitor workers' conditions, makes for sobering reading. It seems – no surprise – that despite all the words, all the clichés, all the high-level negotiations...

Read more...

Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way

After reading - Whatever It Takes: The Inside Story of the FIFA Way - you feel dirty. It is like bathing in a pool of scummy water for hours, but is nonetheless a fascinating story from a former insider of the FIFA world. Bonita Mersiades was a senior executive in the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) and one of the point people in their doomed bid to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup. From 2008 - 2010, she had an intimate...

Read more...

Why Neymar is Cheap at 220 Million Euro

It is not about the sport. The sporting giants like Jürgen Klopp and Arsène Wenger have weighed in to denounce the transfer of Barcelona’s Brazilian star Neymar for 220 million Euro to Paris Saint-Germain. They claim it is against the spirit of sport and is “beyond rationality”. Their rival José Mourinho at Manchester United, somewhat, agrees saying say that the real problem with the Neymar transfer is that the whole player market will now go berserk. In sporting terms they are...

Read more...

Secret Transcripts of the Middle East Soccer Argument

There is an argument going up and down the halls of power in Washington. No, it has nothing (well, not directly) to do with Donald Trump. Rather on one side are keen, hungry FBI agents and their Department of Justice counterparts. These police and prosecutors are usually clothed in dark suits, dresses with shoulder pads and black sunglasses. They spend their weekends competing in triathlons or running up and down mountains. On the other side of the argument are the...

Read more...

The Greatest Case of Commercial Blindness in the History of Sports Integrity

There are all kinds of examples of inappropriate blindness. There was Captain Smith of the SS Titanic not seeing the iceberg. There was Admiral Nelson putting the telescope to his eye patch not to see the signal to retreat. There was Johnny Papalia the mafia thug who beat up the head of Toronto’s illegal gambling racket in front of two-hundred people in a crowded restaurant and when the police arrived none of the patrons said they saw anything. Then there...

Read more...

How to Investigate Sports Corruption without upsetting the Senior Executives

Lets judge them using their own words. Today, (October 7) the Qatari-sponsored International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS) prepares to officially launch another alphabet soup of an organisation - the Sports Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA) or possibly they will announce a shift in their own organization's deck chairs while attempting to convince the sports world they should be taken seriously. The next day, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will continue their long, slow murder of the World Anti-Doing Agency (WADA). They...

Read more...

60 Minutes Sport, the Qataris & the Tobacco Industry

There used to be a public health phenomena called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Workers in Qatar The idea was that dirty ducts and air vents inside modern buildings were making people sick. In the early 1990s, SBS was linked to lung cancer, asthma and a number of respiratory diseases. Medical conferences were held. Academic journal articles were published. Media stories were written about this potentially dangerous problem. Then the non-smokers rights advocates pointed out that much of the research about SBS...

Read more...

2 Farces, Turkish Nightmare & Infantino’s Blatter-Lite FIFA

It was not a good week for sport. The Turkish nightmare continues. There are strange doings, as usual, in Singapore and Qatar. However, the big story is that Gianni Infantino's FIFA has now become a Blatter-Lite FIFA: the same organisation, only with better table manners for the media.   The key issue is the resignation of Domenico Scala as the Head of the Audit and Compliance Committee. He quit FIFA as Infantino pushed through a measure that would have allowed the FIFA Executive Committee...

Read more...