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Candidate City Human Rights Proposals for the 2026 World Cup: The Promise of a Positive Legacy

Since 2017, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has incorporated human rights risk assessments into its bidding requirements for major events, beginning with the competition to host the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup. This process began at a time of increased scrutiny on the impact of major events and greater focus on the applicability of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to sport. In 2014, the Centre for Sport and Human Rights’ founding Chair Mary Robinson, together with John Ruggie (author of the UNGPs), wrote to FIFA in their respective capacities as Patron and Chair of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) to stress the need for ‘sustained due diligence […] with respect to decisions about host nations and how major sporting events are planned and implemented’. Following recommendations set forth in the letter, expanded upon in Ruggie’s 2016 report ‘For the Game, For the World’, FIFA introduced robust bidding requirements that any country or region wishing to bid to host a World Cup will have to conduct a human rights risk assessment and outline how they intend to mitigate each of the risks identified. These requirements are designed to align the World Cup bidding process with the UNGPs.


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