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Centre and FIFA partner to deliver Human Rights Volunteers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Centre and FIFA partner to deliver Human Rights Volunteers for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022


  •   Pilot programme was successfully delivered during the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 in collaboration between FIFA and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights
  •   The roles will engage volunteers to learn from fans about their experiences to ensure human rights programmes are informed by real-time feedback
  •   Applications for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Volunteer Programme are open until the end of June 2022

Following a successful pilot project to introduce the role of Human Rights Volunteers into the wider volunteers’ programme at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021, FIFA has confirmed the initiative will further expanded for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The human rights volunteers programme was piloted during a soft launch at the FIFA Arab Cup in November and December 2021. The pilot comprised of 12 human rights volunteers who were trained for their role by the FIFA human rights team as well as civil society organisations working in the field of sport and human rights.

At the FIFA Arab Cup, the human rights volunteers performed a wide range of outreach work, including more than 565 interviews with fans, across 29 matches – to learn of their experiences in attending the matches. The information gathered was then fed back to the FIFA human rights team, who ensured follow-up in collaboration with the relevant FIFA functional areas and host country partners. Human rights volunteers also raised awareness of the FIFA World Cup grievance mechanism in their engagements with fans.

Amongst the diverse array of topics raised through the human rights volunteers programme during the FIFA Arab Cup were, for example, required improvements of assistance services for persons with limited mobility between metro stations and stadiums, the need to take enhance measures to address risks of harassment in congested areas outside stadiums, recommendations to introduce ways for enhanced privacy in prayer rooms in some of the stadiums, or recommendations to amend fan activations to ensure a better gender balance in the use of the offers provided.

The newly developed concept of human rights volunteers was implemented for the first time at any major sporting event. Andreas Graf, Head of Human Rights & Anti-Discrimination at FIFA, has revealed that the success of the pilot now means the programme will be operational and further expanded at the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which takes place in Qatar between 21 November and 18 December 2022.

He said: “We were delighted to see that the human rights volunteer programme helped us to very concretely improve the protection of persons attending the FIFA Arab Cup. We learned a lot from the real-time information generated through the programme, and the feedback from the volunteers themselves and external stakeholders who accompanied the project was very positive.”  

“It is our hope that the success of the pilot will be followed by another successful delivery at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 when we expand the programme to include 96 volunteers and 10 team leaders. I would like to encourage everyone who is interested in this unique experience to sign up as a volunteer today, we are greatly looking forward to welcoming a diverse and motivated group of volunteers.”

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Volunteers Programme officially launched in March, with the application process now open to all potential volunteers interested in a wide range of roles and responsibilities – including the Human Rights Volunteer role. Persons interested in the human rights volunteers programme can highlight their interest in this role when registering in the system.

One volunteer on the pilot programme, Ojima Zechariah Wada, a 27-year-old doctoral student at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, praised the programme and encouraged potential volunteers to sign up.

He said: “The initiative is crucial for such a large sporting event. In fact, it must be a prerequisite. The need for fresh, trained eyes dedicated to identifying human rights violations during the event contributes hugely to the competition's success.

“It is almost impossible for the organisers to monitor every individual actively. Hence, having a group dedicated to this task is highly advantageous. I enjoyed interacting with the fans the most. Getting to see a large sporting event from the perspectives of individuals of diverse backgrounds is fascinating. It’s one of the most fulfilling things I’ve been involved in, and would recommend it to anyone.”

In the delivery of the programme, FIFA partnered with the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, a global organisation promoting human rights in sports. William Rook, Deputy CEO of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights said:  “Having observed the pilot of this initiative during the FIFA Arab Cup, it was notable that the volunteers delivered valuable observations that were important in conducting real-time human rights due diligence, and in identifying areas where organisers could make adjustments between matches.

“We are pleased to now contribute to training and supporting the Human Rights Volunteers at the FIFA World Cup, and to developing a case study that will be of value to future event organisers across many sports. Having a cohort of volunteers with human rights training engage with fans, workers and security staff around a stadium is a model to promote more broadly and will further build and diversify the community of people engaged in sport and human rights.”


If you are interested in applying to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Volunteer Programme, you can do so by visiting the dedicated portal on

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