Around FIFA

Social responsibility and education

Human rights, anti-discrimination, sustainability and safeguarding were at the forefront of FIFA’s activities in 2023. The work carried out over the 12 months – from grassroots to the elite level of the game – was both substantial and impactful.

Human rights and anti-discrimination

Through its competitions and the activities it undertakes to govern and develop football, FIFA generates jobs and investment in infrastructure, promotes the values of equality and fairness and strengthens social bonds among people and countries. The significant impact made by world football’s governing body comes with considerable responsibility. Major progress was made and many milestones were achieved in 2023. In 2023, FIFA continued to expand its work in the areas of human rights and anti-discrimination, placing particular emphasis on measures to fight discrimination in all of its forms. Nowhere was this work more evident and impactful than at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

Social Media Protection Service report published

In December 2023, FIFA and FIFPRO released a report on the activities carried out by FIFA’s Social Media Protection Service across the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023. The report highlighted how the innovative approach helped to reduce the exposure of players, participating teams, coaches, officials and other stakeholders to online abuse and hate speech. The summary analysis also included in-depth statistics concerning the number of posts/comments analysed, the level of protection offered and the various types of abuse that were hidden.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 15: FIFA President Gianni Infantino with Vinícius Júnior during a meeting with the Brazil National Team on June 15, 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Harold Cunningham/FIFA)

There’s no place on social media for those who abuse or threaten anyone, be that at FIFA tournaments or elsewhere.

Gianni Infantino
FIFA President

Social Media Protection Service

Key numbers

million

posts/comments analysed for abusive content

languages covered

active accounts covered across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube

accounts owned by 697 players and coaches covered

accounts held by 29 match officials and the 32 participating teams covered

That action yielded the following findings:

in players

152 players at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 received targeted discriminatory, abusive or threatening messaging.

Homophobic, sexist and sexual abuse accounted for almost 50% of detected verified abusive messages.*

Players at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 were 29% more likely to be targeted with online abuse compared with players at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

* Data derived from more than 25 million posts/comments mentioning player handles (usernames) – 20 million at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and 5.1 million at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, making the report the largest known comparative study of its kind across men’s and women’s football.

No Discrimination campaign takes centre stage

FIFA’s No Discrimination campaign has now been implemented at four FIFA tournaments, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, where it was supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The campaign has received backing from some of football’s biggest advocates for inclusion, including Venezuela and Manchester City forward Deyna Castellanos, former Germany midfielder Sami Khedira and ex-England striker Ian Wright.

Seattle Sounders FC v Al Ahly SC : 2nd Round - FIFA Club World Cup Morocco 2022

Anti-discrimination protocols and preparation

To ensure that offensive material did not enter any of the stadiums at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, a total of 3,870 banners, flags and other items were assessed, either through pre-match applications submitted by fans or by stadium security personnel who were advised by human rights and anti-discrimination experts.

Canada v Ireland: Group B - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

Recognising indigenous rights

The tournament contested in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia was also the first FIFA Women’s World Cup™ to promote Indigenous rights. First Nations and Māori flags were flown at matches, while Indigenous cultures were strongly represented in the team welcomes and on matchdays, including in ceremonies and through the team captains’ armbands. An all-female cultural panel comprising leaders from First Nations and Māori communities provided guidance on all relevant aspects of the tournament.

Spain v Zambia: Group C - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023

Safeguarding firsts

The FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 was another milestone for human rights and safeguarding at major tournaments. In line with FIFA’s commitment to raising safeguarding standards across the game, all 32 participating teams appointed a dedicated Team Safeguarding/Welfare Officer, while a new safeguarding risk assessment considered the potential harm to all participants. Referees and officials received training on FIFA safeguarding standards and reporting, as did volunteers. Away from the tournament, FIFA held a Safeguarding Summit at its Zurich headquarters, and over 6,000 people have now received the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding Essentials Diploma.

FIFA Safeguarding Summit

First FIFA Guardians graduate

The FIFA Safeguarding Summit, which was held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 25 and 26 October, featured the graduation ceremony of the more than 100 FIFA learners from 70 member associations, six regional associations and two confederations who had successfully completed the FIFA Guardians Safeguarding in Sport Diploma.

Amongst the graduates was FIFA Council member and New Zealand Football President Johanna Wood, who, in a short address, emphasised the importance that the cohort continue to provide each other with invaluable support moving forward, while also assisting the members of their respective football communities. The summit also served to allow participants to share best practice and lessons learned in the area of safeguarding. Safeguarding officers from a wide spectrum of FIFA member associations and the confederations, along with global experts and representatives from various stakeholders in the world of safe sport – including the International Olympic Committee, the Council of Europe, the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, FIFPRO and the Army of Survivors – joined former international footballers and FIFA’s Head of Refereeing (Women), Kari Seitz, for a host of panel discussions and presentations. There are over 7,000 individuals enrolled on the FIFA Guardians Essentials Level 1 course, with plans to offer the diploma, which is currently available in English, French and Spanish, in Arabic.

Safeguarding and FIFA Forward 3.0

The FIFA Safeguarding and Child Protection Department engaged with over 100 member associations from three regions at workshops held in Paris, Miami and Ho Chi Minh City to discuss the importance of implementing programmes from grassroots to elite level within their football communities. In addition to numerous presentations delivered by the relevant FIFA representatives, bilateral discussions were arranged that enabled the member associations to engage with various FIFA experts to address their specific challenges.

Millions of children around the world are involved in football. What they all have in common is the right to enjoy the game in a safe environment and in a culture of respect and understanding.

Gianni Infantino
FIFA President

Green certification

In a major off-the-pitch achievement, the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 was the first edition of the tournament in which all stadiums received green building certification. All ten stadiums across the two host countries achieved certification, with only two other Australian sport venues receiving the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard before the big kick-off. In practical terms, the certification helped to ensure operational sustainability, reducing the venues’ energy and water use while delivering efficiencies in other areas, including recycling.

Switzerland v Ecuador: Group C - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

FIFA engages with European Parliament on sustainability in sports

In April 2023, FIFA addressed a European Parliament Sports Group panel discussion to explain how FIFA’s approach to sustainability has evolved in recent years. During his presentation, FIFA’s Head of Sustainability & Environment, Federico Addiechi, commented that it was now “impossible for sustainability not to be an integral and a major part of any bid for sporting events going forward”. The two-session event, organised by the European Parliament Sports Group, was led by Members of the European Parliament Tomasz Frankowski, Tiziana Beghin and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, who moderated the discussion. Nicole Mündelein, coordinator of Dortmund City Council’s Host City Working Group on Sustainability for UEFA EURO 2024, and Riikka Rakic, Head of Strategy, Sustainability and Governance at the International Biathlon Union, also took part in the sessions.

EU Parliament Sports Group session on “Environmental sustainability in sport”

FIFA Sustainable Sourcing Code published

In September 2023, FIFA published the Sustainable Sourcing Code, which outlines its commitments as an organisation and the scope of application and the minimum requirements with which it expects the suppliers, service providers, partners, sponsors, licensees, broadcasters, consultants and other business partners that supply it with goods and services to comply. The code reflects FIFA’s commitment to contributing towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations, FIFA and member associations discuss memorandum of understanding renewal and advancing football cooperation

In November 2023, the secretariat of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and FIFA co-hosted a consultative workshop in Jakarta, Indonesia, regarding the renewal of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, which was first signed in 2019. The one-day event saw 30 representatives from the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Sports and FIFA’s Southeast Asian member associations exchange views on shared needs and expectations with the ASEAN secretariat and FIFA, with a view to advancing cooperation among football stakeholders to identify priority areas for the next phase of the memorandum of understanding.

ASEAN Consultative Workshop on the Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding between ASEAN and FIFA

Looking ahead to 2026 and beyond

The FIFA World Cup 26™ is set to be one of the most challenging editions of the tournament from an organisational perspective, with the record 48-team line-up to compete in 16 Host Cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States. In an effort to ensure that human rights are respected, FIFA has worked with each of the Host Cities to establish tailored plans of action.

More

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