Sport & Human Rights: a winning pair

The European Multisport Club Association welcomes positively the meeting between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland. The aim of this event, held last 10th January in Strasbourg was to discuss how to better promote human rights in sports.


Fifa and the Council of Europe: together for human rights

The meeting confirmed the commitment of the two organizations to work together under the guidelines of the Council of Europe’s sports conventions in protecting human rights in sport. «It seems clear to me that FIFA and the Council of Europe share many common goals. Good governance, respect for human rights and a resolute stance against doping, match-fixing and violence are a top priority for world football’s governing body» said Mr. Infantino, as reported on

Mr Jagland added: «Closer co-operation with FIFA will help to promote respect for human rights in sport both in Europe and worldwide. The role of sport in our societies, for example in boosting integration, cannot be underestimated. Good governance will help to ensure the benefits of sport can be enjoyed by everyone».

The two organisations agreed to start working together on a “Memorandum of Understanding”, which should set out in detail the areas of cooperation between them. The aim is to have it ready for signature by the end of 2018.


Sport: a key tool for human rights promotion

Sport is viewed as a key tool in promoting human rights across the globe and it is increasingly being recognised as a human right itself. It has a great positive influence through many programmes that have been used to promote the rights of women, children, people with disabilities and integration. That is why is is so important to encourage sport: it can be a high impact tool in the humanitarian and development fields, because of the unique ability to attract, inspire people and to reduce barriers.

This cooperation between FIFA and the Council of Europe can strengthen the role of sport and lay the foundations for increasing the institutions’ action in the promotion of human rights. In fact, because of their influence, those who organise and participate in sports should be even more accountable to human rights standards. They have the potential to be role models for young people and help create an ethical society built on human rights principles.

Besides recognising sport as a human right itself, sports are also a platform for promoting and raising awareness about all human rights concerns. The same human rights violations that happen within the sports world — such as discrimination, violence against women, and denial of children’s rights — impact society at large. Sports events, teams, administrators and athletes can use sports platform to share information and educate the world on human rights and their respect.

That is why sport is so important. And that is why EMCA, through our Clubs’ European Projects, aims to develop sport not only as a physical activity promotion tool, but also as a powerful instrument of promotion of integration and human rights.