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FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

An overview of the work of the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board.

In March 2017, FIFA announced the establishment of an independent Human Rights Advisory Board to help strengthen its efforts to ensure respect for human rights. This was the first such entity created by a global sports governing body. The Board was established for an initial two-year period on the initiative of FIFA's President. The Board's mandate was renewed for a second two years in January 2019, concluding in December 2020.

The Board comprised eight international experts in human, including labor, rights and anti-corruption issues from the United Nations, trade unions, civil society, academia and business (see the list of Board members below). The Board provided FIFA with advice on all issues that it considered relevant to the implementation of FIFA's human rights responsibilities under Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes, making nearly 90 recommendations to FIFA on a wide range of topics, including:

  • Risks connected to the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia and FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, particularly to the rights of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ individuals;
  • Risks affecting women and girls in the game, from professional women players, to women football fans in Iran, to women experiencing severe sexual harassment and abuse;
  • Strengthening accountability for human rights in FIFA’s governance structures and access to remedy for those harmed; and
  • Responding to urgent cases involving human rights defenders (like Semyon Simonov and Oyub Titiev) or individual players (like Hakeem Al-Araibi).

The Board produced a series of public reports summarizing its work and setting out its recommendations to FIFA. FIFA provided updates on how it was addressing previous recommendations from the Board. All the Board’s reports and FIFA’s updates are available on this webpage.

The Board met formally with FIFA in Zurich twice a year and, on its own, on a bimonthly basis to ensure it was providing timely advice. In October 2018, the Board held its meeting in Doha, Qatar. The members of the Board provided advice to FIFA on an independent basis and received no financial or other compensation for their time. The Board’s work was carried out in line with its Terms of Reference (updated in 2019), and a set of Operating Principles adopted by the Board at its first meeting in 2017.

The Board engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives of international organizations, trade unions, NGOs and people directly affected by FIFA’s operations in developing its recommendations and evaluating FIFA’s progress.

For further background on FIFA and human rights, particularly the independent report by Professor John Ruggie in April 2016, see below.

The Board is grateful to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre for hosting this page about its activities.

Members of the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board with FIFA and Supreme Committee staff in Doha, October 2018

Board members and Terms

  • William Anderson (adidas), 2017-20 
  • Susan Bissell (Independent Senior Advisor), 2019-20
  • Rachel Davis (Shift) – Chair of the Board, 2017-20
  • Ignacio Packer (Terre des Hommes), 2017-18
  • Sylvia Schenk (Transparency International Germany), 2017-20
  • Theo van Seggelen (FIFPro), 2017-20
  • Lene Wendland (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), 2017-20
  • Brent Wilton (The Coca-Cola Company), 2017-20
  • Ambet Yuson (Building and Wood Workers' International), 2017-20

More information

Fifth report by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

FIFA's Human Rights Advisory Board published its final report in March 2021, which summarises the progress made over the last four years and considers key areas of work and recommendations since the publication of the previous report.

Board reports

Archive of all reports and statements by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board.

Fourth report by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

The Board published its fourth report in January 2020, making one single recommendation to FIFA: "to develop a roadmap for further embedding FIFA’s human rights commitments into decision-making at all levels".

Third report by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

The Board published its third report in May 2019, reflecting on its initial two-year term and including recommendations from Oct 2018 - April 2019.

Second report by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

The Board published its second full report in September 2018, including specific recommendations and FIFA's responses.

Update statement by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

The Board held its fourth meeting in Doha, Qatar in October, 2018. The purpose of the visit was to understand the current human rights context, progress and challenges connected to preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Update statement by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

In May 2018, the Board provided a summary of the advice given to FIFA regarding the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia and evaluation of the bids for the FIFA World Cup 2026.

First report by the FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board

The Board published its first report in September 2017, including 33 detailed recommendations on issues FIFA should focus on.