Collective Action and Responsible Participation in Mega Sporting Events: Webinar Report
Author - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
With a specific focus on the upcoming World Cup in Qatar and the hospitality sector, the Centre brought together actors in the sport ecosystem to explore what steps can football associations take to responsibly participate in mega sporting events.
Many actors are involved in the successful delivery of Mega Sporting Events and collaboration between all of them is essential to forge collective solutions to address human rights challenges.
Through their participation in events such as the FIFA World Cup, Football Associations (FA) deliver state of the art performances and unforgettable experiences for a global audience of billions of people around the world.
Football Associations, like many other actors involved, get important financial returns from their participation. At the same time, their involvement in these events is increasingly under scrutiny. The main questions concern their contributions – positively or negatively - to the countries hosting these events:
- How can they do no harm through their activities and support progress in relation to issues such as labour rights, gender equality, inclusion and non-discrimination?
- How can they address potential negative impacts and how can they exert leverage over those they engage with – such as actors in the hospitality sector - in relation to domestic and international human rights issues?
The purpose of this event was to unpack the idea of “responsible participation” - what does that mean? And what does that mean in particular in the context of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Last year, the Centre launched a Due Diligence Starter Kit for National FAs.
Building on the experience of the upcoming World Cup, this webinar brought together Football Associations, organisers, international organisations, civil society and corporate representatives with the objectives of increasing awareness around the challenges and opportunities linked to participation in Mega Sporting Events, sharing lessons learned, promoting best practices based on internationally recognised human rights and – most importantly - fostering cross sector collaboration to advance the dialogue in view of the World Cup and future events.
Responsible participation in major events requires National Football Associations to promote:
First, National Football Associations should recognise their own responsibility to do no harm and to prevent, address and make right any negative human rights impacts they may have caused, contributed to through their activities or be linked to via their commercial relationships, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
Like all stakeholders, Football Associations should educate themselves on the human rights risks connected to an event and understand the applicable international standards and the efforts of the tournament organisers and other key actors to apply them.
Proactive engagement is critical and requires dialogue and collaboration on an ongoing basis with all stakeholders – including adversely affected people or their representatives - to understand where human rights risks lie, and what can be done together to mitigate them.
4. Risk Assessment
Integrating human rights risk assessment processes requires systems to be in place, informed by appropriate human rights expertise and stakeholder input, to properly assess risks in operations and business relationships.
Leadership and innovation should be encouraged, requiring that Football Associations regularly communicate openly not only about achievements and progress but also about the challenges faced in responding to adverse impacts and how they are seeking to address such issues, learn from their mistakes and improve.
- Mary Harvey OLY, Chief Executive of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, Olympic Gold Medalist and FIFA World Champion
- Andreas Graf, Head of Human Rights & Anti-Discrimination,·FIFA
- Mahmoud Qutub, Executive Director for Worker Welfare, Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC)
- Max Tuñón, Director, Qatar Project Office, International Labour Organization
- Carlo Javakhia, General Manager, Ritz Carlton Hotel
- Jakob Jensen, CEO, Danish Football Association (DBU)
- Clare Flannery, Sustainability Manager, Anheuser-Busch InBev.
- Isobel Archer, Programme Manager, Business Human Rights Resource Centre