Evaluating human rights risks for mega-sporting event hosts


Businesses involved in major sporting events will increasingly need to have a more sophisticated understanding of how their activities, products and services might be involved in adverse human rights impacts. In recent months a number of sports governing bodies, including the IOC, Commonwealth Games, FIFA and UEFA have started to incorporate human rights criteria into their bidding requirements. This groundswell of activity is consistent with an emerging global trend that has seen social and human rights impacts transform into financial and reputational risks for businesses. In response businesses are beginning to develop systems and processes to mitigate these risks.

A report prepared by DLA Piper for the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights has highlighted the importance of sports governing bodies identifying human rights risks in candidate cities for major sporting events. The Report, which reviewed information published by the United Nations Human Rights Council ("UN") and International Labour Organisation (ILO) found these sources provided an important starting point for event-specific due diligence. Analysing UN and ILO literature on the Bahamas, the UK, Australia and South Africa, all of which are set to host major sporting events over the next two years, the Report outlines potential human rights challenges in each country.

Specific due diligence and human rights risk management processes can be developed in line with international standards, such as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to identify and manage potential human rights risks associated with major sporting events. It is essential that once human rights risks are identified, businesses involved in the delivery of these events ensure the right processes are in place to mitigate them.