UNI Global Union and World Players Association announce collective plan to establish independent Centre for Sport and Human Rights in 2018
UNI Global Union and the World Players Association, along with dozens of other leading global stakeholders involved in the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform), announced today their plans to launch an independent Centre for Sport and Human Rights next year.
As founding members of the Steering Committee of the MSE Platform, World Players has been deeply involved in over two years of talks with international organisations, governments, sports bodies, athletes, hosts, sponsors, broadcasters, civil society representatives, trade unions, and employers to embed the fundamental principles of human dignity, human rights, and labour rights in the world of sport. The more than 85,000 professional players represented by World Players, spanning more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries, are looking to this unprecedented alliance to heed players’ collective voice in shaping the way their rights are respected and the way they can help make sport more rights-respecting for all.
“Whilst there is still work to be done to form the independent Centre, there is no turning back,”said Brendan Schwab, World Players Executive Director. “The Centre is critical for the effective implementation of the growing set of commitments that have been made to uphold human rights in sport, and it is crucial that athletes have a voice in this implementation process.”
UNI Global Union and World Players share the stated ambition for the Centre, founded on the recognition that human rights risks exist at all level of sport, are clearly preventable through collective effort, and must be remedied when negative impacts occur. According to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), and the pillar of this framework of the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights, no one can walk away from these fundamental obligations.
“A meaningful voice for players, joining with the other stakeholders in creating a strong mandate for the Centre, can help to redress the decline in public support and local interest in hosting major sporting events”, said Don Fehr, President of the World Players Association, who will be delivering remarks at the MSE Platform’s Sporting Chance Forum on 30 November 2017 in Geneva. “It is important for the voices of the athletes to be heard in this context, because it is the right thing to do for human rights and labour rights, as well as the rights of the players.”
The Centre’s mission will be to strengthen the legitimacy of sport through the promotion of effective prevention, mitigation, and remedy mechanisms, in accordance with international standards including the UNGPs, the ILO Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, amongst others, including those that may apply to potentially vulnerable or marginalised groups such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Sporting Chance Principles on Human Rights in Mega-Sporting Events.
Athletes recognise that to implement these commitments requires their collective voice and a prompt and effective remedy that can be employed when the line is crossed.
“When human rights policies and due diligence to respect human rights and labour rights fail in sport,” said Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, “the actors involved must ensure there is an effective remedy for aggrieved parties. For where there is no remedy, there is effectively no right.”
To internalize and deliver on existing human rights commitments, sports bodies, local organising committees, and other stakeholders must fundamentally change their mindset to clearly respect players’ rights and recognise their equal say in these matters.
Read the full Joint Statement here.
The World Players Association sits on the MSE Platform Steering Committee and co-chaired the Platform’s Task Force on Affected Groups and participated in the Task Force on Sports Governing Bodies.
In July 2017, World Players released the World Player Rights Policy. Its adoption is the first step that world sport must take to legally uphold the human rights and labour rights of players, act proactively to respect them, and ensure access to a remedy for those whose rights are violated. Likewise, World Players has released its Declaration on Safeguarding the Rights of Child Athletes and its Gender Equality Principles. In December 2017, World Players will unveil a declaration on behalf of its more than 100 player associations affiliates, setting out how international human rights and labour rights norms and laws apply to players as people first and also as workers.