Media Release

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

Friday 10 March 2017, 11:09

Independent advisory board of human rights experts to meet on 13 March

To further strengthen its work to ensure respect for human rights, FIFA has set up an independent advisory body composed of international experts from the United Nations, trade unions, civil society and business. This Human Rights Advisory Board will provide FIFA with advice on all issues that the board members may consider relevant for the implementation of FIFA’s human rights responsibilities.

The board is scheduled to meet at least twice a year, with the first meeting to be held at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 13 March 2017. After each meeting, a report will be published with the board’s recommendations to FIFA and an update from FIFA on how it is addressing previous recommendations from the board. The timeline for the publication of the first report will be discussed by the board at the 13 March meeting and communicated in due course.

The current members of the advisory board, selected on the basis of their expertise in human rights-related matters, are (in alphabetical order):

  • William Anderson (adidas)

  • Rachel Davis (Shift)

  • Ignacio Packer (Terre des Hommes)

  • Sylvia Schenk (Transparency International Germany)

  • Theo van Seggelen (FIFPro)

  • Lene Wendland (Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)

  • Brent Wilton (The Coca-Cola Company)

  • Ambet Yuson (Building and Wood Workers’ International)

“The work of this advisory board is another important step as we strengthen our efforts to deliver on our human rights commitments. We are very glad to have such a prominent panel of experts who will support us with their expertise and challenge us where they believe we need to improve. It is the first advisory board of its kind for any sports federation, and we look forward to the pioneering work we will jointly undertake,” said FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura.

“I welcome FIFA's decision to establish a Human Rights Advisory Board which, if it functions as envisaged, will help FIFA to implement its human rights commitments and take effective action to address human rights risks related to FIFA events. Football has a huge global following, cutting across all social boundaries. There is therefore huge potential for FIFA to play a dynamic role in standing up for human rights, including within its own immediate sphere of operations,” said Lene Wendland, Adviser on Business and Human Rights at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“The establishment of the Human Rights Advisory Board is a step in the right direction in implementing the recommendations by Professor John Ruggie. We have high expectations for it to be an independent body to seriously and concretely address the concerns raised by workers on the ground,” said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Wood Workers’ International.

“I accepted the invitation to become a member of the board because implementing respect for human rights in the day-to-day work at FIFA helps those affected by FIFA's operations, including in its supply chain. It also globally promotes the need for instruments which ensure that efforts for positive change on human rights are not undermined by corrupt practices,” said Sylvia Schenk, Chair of the Working Group on Sport at Transparency International Germany

“We are pleased to be a part of the Human Rights Advisory Board, which we believe will provide robust guidance to FIFA as it strives to progress the social sustainability of football. We look forward to engaging with FIFA on a full range of human rights topics that are pertinent to the organisation and the sport it represents,” said Brent Wilton, Director of Global Workplace Rights at The Coca-Cola Company.

The new advisory board, which will advise and support FIFA in its work on human rights, was set up on the initiative of FIFA President Gianni Infantino. Possible issues on which the board may choose to provide guidance include labour standards, health and safety, property rights, security, discrimination and freedom of expression. The members will provide their advice on an independent basis and will not receive any financial or other compensation for the time invested. Further information on the purpose and working methods of the board are included in its terms of reference, which were developed with input from a broad range of stakeholders from international organisations, trade unions, civil society and FIFA’s Commercial Affiliates.

The board is part of a systematic push by FIFA to step up its human rights efforts. Amongst various other initiatives, a firm human rights commitment was included in the FIFA Statutes in February 2016 and figures prominently in the newly published organisational strategy FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future. For the upcoming editions of the FIFA World Cup™, elaborate monitoring processes for labour standards have been developed in cooperation with the Local Organising Committee in Russia and the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy in Qatar. Moreover, FIFA has successfully launched an Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System and is working on the integration of human rights criteria into the bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™.

Further information on FIFA’s human rights approach can be found in the following fact sheet.

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