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Commentary on sport & human rights highlights need for a focus on major sporting events & day-to-day practice by grassroots players

Author: Steve Gibbon, Ergon Associates, Published on: 26 November 2018

Much of what has been written and said about sport in the world of business and human rights has tended to focus on Mega Sporting Events, in particular [...] the Olympic and Paralympic games in Beijing, London Rio, the Winter games in Sochi and FIFA World Cup tournaments in Russia and Qatar.

Such events have enormous impact... They can also bring about significant infrastructure upgrades, with both positive and potentially negative effects.

The events are by their nature short-term and infrequent...

As a consequence, there are a range of apparently short-term human rights problems and challenges. Think of construction workers in significant infrastructure upgrades – Qatar being the absolute, possibly atypical, example – or the fears for temporary restriction of freedom of speech during a tournament.

It is important not to ignore longer terms opportunities and threats that can stem from both significant sporting events, but also importantly the day-to-day practice of sport by grassroots players. We have tried to think about this in a number of recent projects, most notably our work for the United Bid 2026 - our report is here...

I am looking forward to discussing sport and human rights today in Geneva at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights...

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