The Human Rights Advisory Board, which was created in early 2017 to provide independent advice on FIFA’s human rights responsibilities, published its first report today. In their report, the expert group of eight representatives from the UN System, civil society, trade unions and FIFA sponsors discusses FIFA’s work on human rights in a number of priority areas and outlines a set of specific recommendations to FIFA.

“This report shows that FIFA is making important progress in integrating respect for human rights throughout its wide range of activities,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “We are taking a pioneering role in that regard and feel privileged to be able to count on the outstanding support of the advisory board members. They validate the important progress that is taking place and challenge us where more is still to be done.”        

Commenting on their work with FIFA and on their part of the report (Part A), the advisory board stated:

“Our first report sets a baseline: it evaluates FIFA’s human rights progress to date and outlines where FIFA needs to focus in its efforts to prevent and address risks to people connected to its operations. We recognise that FIFA has taken important steps, particularly by adopting a new Human Rights Policy, fighting discrimination connected to matches and integrating human rights requirements into the 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding documents. We also make 33 detailed recommendations on issues FIFA should focus on, including, as a priority, building on what has been done to date by continuing to strengthen efforts to address risks to workers’ rights on FIFA World Cup stadium construction sites in Russia and Qatar.

We highlight the long-term commitment required from FIFA to build systems at the operational level that can proactively identify and respond to the most severe human rights risks, and the need to show progress in integrating human rights into FIFA’s governance structures – meaning into decision-making by the Council, Congress and the standing committees. We are encouraged by the steps FIFA has already begun taking to implement some of our recommendations and we look forward to continuing to support and challenge the organisation on its efforts to meet its human rights responsibilities in the months to come.”

In the second part of the report (Part B), FIFA provides an update on its work on the priority areas identified by the board. Key milestones highlighted in the report include the adoption of FIFA’s Human Rights Policy in May 2017, the further strengthening of the mechanisms in place to address human rights risks to workers employed on FIFA World Cup construction sites in Russia and Qatar, the integration of detailed human rights criteria into the bidding and hosting requirements of future FIFA tournaments, and the broadening of FIFA’s engagement with external stakeholders.