Germany and Turkey are vying to host the 2024 Euros © VI Images/PA Images
Germany and Turkey are vying to host the 2024 Euros © VI Images/PA Images

UEFA adds human rights criteria to Euros bidding process

posted by Su-San Sit
19 May 2017

Countries bidding to host the UEFA European Championships will have to adhere to human rights and anti-corruption criteria.

UEFA said the new bidding criteria were based on the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other UN conventions, in close cooperation with Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA).

“For the first time ever, these bid requirements contain specific criteria relating to the respect of human rights,” UEFA said. 

“Furthermore, criteria regarding compliance and anti-corruption measures have also been included as requirements.”

In March, European football’s governing body confirmed that Germany and Turkey were the only two nations to formally announce an interest in hosting the tournament for 2024.

The two bidding nations were provided with UEFA’s requirements for meeting its criteria for staging the event ahead of the countries compiling their dossiers, after which UEFA will decide between the two in September 2018.

The dossiers must respond to the requirements under the chapter ‘Political, Social and Environmental Aspects’ which now makes the explicit reference to human rights and anti-corruption measures.

It follows similar moves by FIFA and the International Olympic Committee over the last six months in incorporating human rights criteria into future bidding documents and statues. 

Amnesty International found migrant workers building a stadium in Qatar's capital Doha for the 2022 World Cup had suffered systematic labour abuses including living in squalid conditions, confiscated passports and even forced labour, SM reported

International Transparency have also highlighed labour abuses in international sporting events including forced evictions and police brutality during preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics and non payment of wages at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA’s president, said it had been made clear to any future bidders that human rights would be crucial in deciding who will win the right to hold the tournament.

“The protection of human rights and labour rights is of the utmost importance to UEFA,” he said.

“From now on, bidding nations will have to adhere strictly to these articles in the framework of the organisation of all our tournaments and finals.”

Euro 2020 will be held in 13 different cities around Europe, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley in London.

Brendan Schwab, executive director of the World Players Association, said the new criteria were an important first step for the sports industry to consider human rights right from the start of the lifecycle of an event.

“The new bid criteria are designed to ensure that the protection of human rights is a material factor in the decision to award the rights to host the championships,” he said.

“This will not only give both bidders the opportunity to comprehensively address potential human rights risks in their bids, but to demonstrate best practice in the advancement of human rights through sport.”

The SRA are a coalition of human rights organisations, sports groups and trade unions including the World Players Association, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International and Amnesty International UK and Netherlands.

The move comes after recent developments in Turkey, specifically the fallout from last year’s failed coup and the expansion of powers awarded to president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Around 47,000 people have been arrested in Turkey under a nine-month state of emergency in place since a failed military coup in July 2016, according to International Transparency.

If Turkey succeeds in its bid for 2024, it will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the country, but it has failed in three previous bids to host the Euros in 2008, 2012 and 2016. 

West German hosted the 1974 World Cup and 1988 European championship and a re-united Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup.

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