Major sporting events

Human rights organizations and other NGOs, media, unions have reported human rights abuses caused by the impacts of massive infrastructure projects carried out in preparation for major sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games.  Many of these allegations involve abuses committed by or with the complicity of private companies. But major sporting events do provide also opportunities to push for change. This page features some of the main developments and coverage on human rights related to major recent or future sporting events in countries such as Azerbaijan, Brazil, Qatar, Russia and Japan, highlighting the role and responsibilities of companies operating there.

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Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games

Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Summer Games

Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games and 2014 World Cup

Sochi 2014 Olympic Games and Paralympic Winter Games

FIFA World Cup

Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup

Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup

European Games

Baku 2015 European Games

Minsk 2019 European Games

Commonwealth Games

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018

Formula One

Formula One 2017 (USA, Mexico, Brazil, UAE)

Formula One 2018 (Australia, China, Bahrain, Azerbaijan)

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Related stories and components

26 November 2018

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

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...

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12 June 2018

Briefing reviews measures taken by sponsors of the Swedish Football Association to address human rights risks associated with 2018 FIFA World Cup

Swedwatch's latest briefing "The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: Sponsorship and human rights" focuses on the role of corporate sponsors in addressing human rights risks associated with major sporting events. It highlights measures taken by sponsors of...

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16 May 2018

Russia: Human Rights Watch & other NGOs call upon FIFA to engage with authorities on persecution of human rights defenders

Author: Human Rights Watch, Front Line Defenders, Amnesty Int'l & 11 other NGOs

"Joint Letter to FIFA Concerning the Human Rights Crisis in Chechnya", 16 May 2018...

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23 April 2018

Russia: Human Rights Watch praises FIFA for supporting activist documenting abuses related to 2018 World Cup, but says it could do more; includes comments by FIFA

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23 April 2018

Welcome support for workers’ rights advocate in Russia

Author: Jane Buchanan, Human Rights Watch

Last week was my first time in a Russian appeals courtroom. I and a colleague were there to support Semyon Simonov, a Russian human rights defender, who is taking a case against police for misconduct. Simonov had worked with Human Rights Watch to...

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Company response
22 April 2018

Response by FIFA

Author: FIFA

FIFA welcomes the acknowledgement by Human Rights Watch of FIFA’s efforts in support of Semyon Simonov. These activities are a reflection of FIFA’s belief that all those who advocate for human rights to be upheld need to be able to do so freely and...

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3 April 2018

FIFA publishes bid books for the 2026 FIFA World Cup incl. summaries of human rights strategies provided by bidders

Last week, FIFA announced the publishing of the bid books for the 2026 FIFA World Cup on The published bid books include in chapter 23 summaries of the human rights strategies provided by the bidders. The strategies are informed and...

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15 February 2018

South Korea: The new Olympics human rights requirements should encourage South Korea to grant amnesty to unfairly jailed trade unionists

Author: Minky Worden, The Washington Post

"South Korea should honor its Olympics workers by releasing jailed labor leaders", 12 February 2018...

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7 February 2018
+ Русский - Hide

Author: Deutsche Welle

"ФИФА признала нарушения прав человека при строительстве стадиона ЧМ-2018 в РФ", 25 мая 2018 года...

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