ZURICH: This is how the five candidates for the FIFA presidency responded to the six pledges on human rights proposed by a group of leading non-governmental organisation:
Jerome Champagne (France) . . . responded with an amended pledge card in which he agreed to call on the Russian and Qatari authorities to prevent human rights abuses around the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
He pledged to tackle discrimination against women and LGBTI people and to make ending discriminatory practices a condition of hosting an FIFA event.
He did NOT pledge to establish an independent advisory panel or to consult with NGOs and communities affected by FIFA events ‘without a precise definition’ of those groups.
Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein (Jordan) . . . did not sign the pledge card but responded with a letter in which he said his manifesto prioritises tackling the trafficking of young players as well as the protection of players and fans from racism.
He highlighted action he has taken to promote women’s football, and said that during his campaign he has spoken of the need for future FIFA World Cups to respect the basic standards of human rights and labour rights, and has pledged that as president he would hold the host countries of future tournaments accountable on these issues.
He did NOT make specific commitments to raising human rights problems linked to World Cups in Russia or Qatar, to introducing due diligence measures to identify potential human rights abuses linked to a FIFA event, or to setting up an independent advisory panel to oversee accountability measures.
Gianni Infantino (Switzerland) . . . responded with a letter saying that much of the content of the pledges was covered in his manifesto, including around governance, transparency, stakeholder engagement, diversity and transparent bidding processes.
He said FIFA has a ‘clear responsibility’ to ensure workers ‘directly involved in the delivery of its tournaments should have their human rights respected’.
He referred to UEFA Euro 2016’s stated support for human rights and anti-corruption measures.
He did NOT commit to putting in place due diligence measures or to calling on Russia and Qatar to prevent human rights abuses linked to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Nor did he commit to setting up an independent advisory panel to oversee accountability measures.
Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa (Bahrain) . . . signed an amended pledge card in which he said he would invest in the women’s game and make ending discriminatory practices against minority groups a condition for hosting an event.
He said he would call on all hosts of the World Cup to prevent human rights abuses and secure workers’ rights but he removed references to Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.
He also deleted mentions of abuses against women and LGBT people and removed references to engaging with NGOs.
He did NOT commit to setting up an independent advisory panel to oversee accountability measures.
Tokyo Sexwale (South Africa) . . . did not reply.