It can be an unpopular, thankless and lonely task exposing corruption or wrong doing in any walk of life, but probably never more so than in sport, and especially football, the most popular game in the world.
For a start the egos in the game are massive, and secondly not many are prepared to rock the boat as they are too busy enjoying the gravy train that they are on.
Sport, like life needs strong individuals who care more about what is wrong and what is right rather than their own popularity, people who care about the big picture, which is the good of the game.
It is therefore pleasing two see two such men rewarded for their endeavours to try and give Football back to the people.
Investigative journalists Jens Weinreich and Andrew Jennings were recently presented with the Play the Game Award
The Play the Game Award is awarded by the organization “Play the Game” whose aim is to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport and encourage democracy, transparency and freedom of expression in world sport. The organization pays tribute to an individual or a group of persons who in their professional careers or as volunteers in sport have made an outstanding effort to strengthen the basic ethical values of sport.
Weinreich and Jennings were selected as the recipients of this year’s award by a committee consisting of board members and directors from the Danish Institute for Sports Studies and Play the Game and the previous award winner, Declan Hill.
Henrik Brandt, Director of the Institute for Danish Sports Studies, said “It is not so much the recent work by the two award winners that moves us to give them the award this year. Rather, it is due to the excellent work of the FIFA Executive Board during recent months to highlight the fact that the world’s two most outstanding investigative journalists in the field of sports have been pointing the fingers in the right direction for more than a decade; that leads us to giving them the award.”
“They have always been accused of exaggerating the problems in FIFA, but last year has shown that they were understating, over the years, Jennings and Weinreich have been despised, criticised and excluded from doing their job by sports leaders, politicians, and even by their own colleagues. Still, they have been determined in pursuing their investigations.”
“They not only sought, but also found the documentation, and that is a great achievement which has been fundamental for the world public’s understanding of FIFA as it is today,” Brandt said.
Congratulations to both men and may they inspire many other investigative journalists to plough on with what they believe is right even if they are abused, threatened and lack support.