The 2026 FIFA World Cup is one of the first mega sporting event to include extensive human rights elements in its bidding requirements, requiring bidding countries to document human rights risks and propose a strategy to prevent and mitigate them. The winning bidder, the United 2026 Bid from Canada, Mexico and the United States of America, proposed an extensive human rights strategy which among other aspects, addresses children’s rights and introduces a new human rights Scorecard.
The Centre for Sport and Human Rights, in consultation with 30 leading child rights and sport experts, has prepared and presented to FIFA a set of recommended ‘Indicator Questions’ on child rights for consideration in the United 2026 Human Rights Scorecard.
Children and Mega Sporting Events
In addition to the many positive benefits of Mega Sporting Events (MSEs), it is increasingly acknowledged that children and young people are especially vulnerable during MSEs and attention must be given to preventing and mitigating actual and potential negative human and child rights impacts. These can include experiences of violence, harassment, abuse, child labour, trafficking, and sexual exploitation.
Digital Consultation for candidate host cities
The Centre for Sport and Human Rights in collaboration with UNICEF in Canada, Mexico, and the USA organized a Digital Consultation focused on children in relation to hosting Mega Sporting Events at the city level to help cities who may host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ understand the following:
- The impact mega sporting events can have on the lives of children and their families
- What steps cities can take to ensure the safety and security and inclusive participation of children and their families as spectators, athletes, and community members at large
- Good practices to incorporate child rights principles that have worked in other cities and countries
Presentations available for download in:
Day One Welcome:
Day One Session One:
Day One Session Two Risks for Children:
Day One Session Three London 2012 Best Practices:
Day One Session Four Children as stakeholders:
Day One Closing:
Day Two Session One The Power of Sport:
Day Two Session Two Safeguarding:
Day Two Session Three Legacy:
Day Two Next Steps:
Online Course on Children and MSEs
The Centre for Sport and Human Rights is developing a course to support those with responsibilities for the planning and delivery of Mega Sporting Events. It will:
- Raise awareness of the rights and issues related to children in the context of MSEs.
- Develop the knowledge and provide access to resources on child rights and well-being.
- Facilitate the translation of knowledge and available resources into practical skills that can be applied in the planning and delivery of MSEs.
Other Online Resources on Children and MSEs
Please, check the content below to deepen your knowledge and understanding on child rights, the impacts throughout the lifecycle of a mega-sporting event on children and best practices for risk mitigation and leveraging opportunities for positive transformation.
UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative
Children and MSEs (general)
Human Rights and MSEs
Children and Youth Participation
Safeguarding and Protection
Playing it Safe - A glimpse of the Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children, Including Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Other Child Sexual Abuse Material in the context of Sports