Euro 2024: UEFA Introduce Human Rights Criteria in Bidding Applications

By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw International Sports Lawyer

On 1 May 2017, UEFA announced new requirements for the bidding process for the Euro 2024 tournament, introducing for the first time specific criteria on respect for human rights.

The UEFA Press Release introducing the new measures stated as follows:

“These criteria are based on the United Nations’ ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ and other UN conventions and were developed in close cooperation with Sport and Rights Alliance.

Furthermore, criteria regarding compliance and anticorruption measures have also been included as requirements.”

Following the withdrawal of the joint bid by the Danish, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Football Associations, the only two contenders for organising and hosting the 2024 event are Germany and Turkey. Unlike Germany, Turkey, reportedly, does has a number of human rights issues – not least following the recent referendum confirming the sweeping powers sought by the current Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan!

The UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, stated that the enshrinement of human rights is crucial for all the organisation’s events and added:

“The protection of human rights and labour rights is of the utmost importance for UEFA.

It was imperative for us to introduce specific articles on the respect and protection of human rights in the bidding requirements for all of our competitions.

From now on, bidding nations will have to adhere strictly to these articles in the framework of the organisation of all of our tournaments and finals.”

It will be interesting to see how these new measures, which are to be generally welcomed, will actually contribute to cleaning up and restoring the integrity of ‘the beautiful game’ and are not merely an exercise in ‘window dressing’!

Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘ian.blackshaw@orange.fr’