ONLY ONE CANDIDATE MAKES FIRM PLEDGE TO TACKLE HUMAN RIGHTS AND CORRUPTION IN WORLD FOOTBALL
(Berlin, 14 May 2015) – In response to a survey from a coalition of leading NGOs, sports organisations and trade unions, only one of the four candidates for the FIFA presidency has set out a plan to address human rights, labour rights and corruption issues if successful in their bid for the top job at world football’s governing body.
The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) sent a questionnaire to the candidates – Sepp Blatter, Luis Figo, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein and Michael van Praag – last month. It asked specific questions about abuses linked to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and about the FIFA reform process. The FIFA presidential election takes place on 29 May in Zurich.
All four candidates responded to the survey, the first time they have been asked to answer for human rights and transparency crises around World Cups and in FIFA’s wider work. Only Michael van Praag made a detailed, personal pledge to address the issues raised by the SRA.
Luis Figo issued a brief statement expressing the need for a zero tolerance approach to human rights abuses, corruption and labour issues, but gave few details of how he would address these problems.
Despite numerous allegations of corruption and controversies over human rights concerns during his 17 years at the helm, current FIFA President Sepp Blatter made no personal commitment to addressing the issues. Instead, his office issued a statement outlining the work FIFA has done to tackle corruption, and pointed to a revision of the bidding process relating to human rights, labour standards, sustainability and anti-corruption measures.
The office of current FIFA Vice President Prince Ali bin Al Hussein replied saying he was too busy to respond, and referred the Alliance to his manifesto and previous statements.
Meanwhile in a separate development, FIFA says it is working on new bidding criteria for the FIFA World Cup 2026, although no details are publicly available yet.
Ignacio Packer, Secretary General of Terre des Hommes which is a member of the SRA, said:
“By responding to the questionnaire, all candidates have shown that the next FIFA President can no longer ignore the human rights impact of the FIFA World Cup, including lack of proper health care and education for children due to forced evictions, police violence and arrest of street children and increased risk of sexual exploitation. It is time FIFA aligns its practice to its ideals and does well, while doing good. We offer our expertise to the president to be elected in framing the future of FIFA from a human rights perspective.Terre des Hommes supports these endeavours by offering its child rights expertise and determination for change on behalf of children everywhere.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
Dr. Marianne Meier
Head of Project ‘Children Win’
+41 78 664 77 57