Tuesday 27 September 2022, 13:30

UN Human Rights Council and FIFA Presidents discuss close cooperation

  • Meeting between Federico Villegas and Gianni Infantino takes place in Geneva

  • Presidents discuss various human rights-related projects including on the FIFA World Cup in Qatar

  • The importance of human rights for all future FIFA tournaments discussed

UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) President Federico Villegas and FIFA President Gianni Infantino discussed various human rights-related matters and their relation to football and society in a meeting hosted by the HRC President at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The two presidents focused the discussions on the role football can play in helping to advance human rights. “I am very happy to have met the UNHRC President and to have shared with him how the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has been an opportunity to carry out long-lasting reforms,” said FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “The abolishment of the kafala system, the introduction of minimum wages and heat protection measures for workers are among the positive changes that are recognised and praised by independent international organisations. FIFA played a part on the substantial progress that has been made in a very short time, and we will keep on working together with the Qatar authorities to make sure that the upcoming FIFA World Cup will be a tournament where everyone will be welcome.” “FIFA has shown that football has an important role to play in improving awareness on human rights issues, not only in Qatar where the FIFA World Cup is taking place, but also across the world,” said UNHRC President Federico Villegas. “I’m glad to hear about recent developments that demonstrate that as an organisation, FIFA has taken a strong stance to combat human rights abuses, such as racism and discrimination, which are welcome and I continue to encourage.” The meeting also considered FIFA’s human rights work, where the FIFA President emphasised that all groups travelling to Qatar will feel welcome and safe, stressing that the authorities have given the necessary assurances on handling any situations that arise in line with international human rights standards. In addition, the extensive inclusivity awareness training programme for public and private security forces currently underway in Qatar in advance of the upcoming FIFA World Cup was also referenced. FIFA’s commitment to human rights as outlined in Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes was also referenced, with the UNHRC President welcoming FIFA’s anti-discrimination campaign to be launched at the upcoming FIFA World Cup which will protect participating teams, players, officials, and supporters from abuse on social media during the tournament. This initiative will feature a dedicated in-tournament moderation service that will scan recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers. Looking ahead to future events, the two Presidents also discussed the importance of human rights in all bidding processes for FIFA tournaments.