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Article

16 Dec 2015

Author:
Matthew Futterman, Wall Street Journal

FIFA Hires Ruggie to Review Business Practices

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In an effort to shore up its bona fides on the human rights front with upcoming tournaments in Russia and Qatar on its schedule, soccer’s world governing body has hired a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School to review and report on the organization’s business practices. John Ruggie, an author of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which provides an outline of international standards for multinational businesses, will study FIFA’s affiliations and issue a public report in March, the organization announced...“This collaboration is another important step in our ongoing reform process,” acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou said in a statement Monday. “Football and FIFA have an important role to play in this field; respect for human rights has to be at the core of our organization and our sport."...“The purpose of this exercise is to make sure FIFA does not contribute to human rights abuses through its own activities and events,” he said. “It doesn’t call on FIFA to reform countries it works in.” Ruggie is aware of the labor issues in Qatar, where migrant workers have limited rights and have had to seek the permission of their employers to leave the country. He said he negotiated with FIFA to ensure his report will be released publicly by Harvard and not remain confidential, like other reports FIFA has ordered. He plans to outline what FIFA needs to do in Qatar to conform with international human rights standards.“My final report will have a list of criteria that must be met by any enterprise that claims to be embedding the guiding principles,” he said.

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