NYON: European football federation UEFA has formally admitted the inter-connection of politics and sport by including human rights concerns among the boxes which event bidders must tick writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Sports bodies have always sought to insist, in defiance of logic, that their decisions should not be weighed by political considerations.
However UEFA has now not merely wiped out that fiction but admitted the volte-face in telling Euro 2024 candidates Germany and Turkey that they must meet specific criteria for human and labour rights and anti-corruption measures for their bids to be considered.
Turkey will face inevitable scrutiny over the political changes being introduced by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the recent referendum amending his constitutional powers.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: “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 our tournaments and finals.”
UEFA said that the criteria were based on United Nations principles on business and human rights and other UN conventions.
A statement added: “Furthermore, criteria regarding compliance and anti-corruption measures have also been included as requirements.”
The German and Turkish football federations, the only candidates to host the event, were given detailed explanations of the requirements at a UEFA event last Thursday.
They have until April 2018 to submit their bid dossiers and UEFA will choose the hosts the following September.
Turkey has never hosted a major senior football tournament while West Germany hosted the 1974 World Cup and 1988 European championship and a re-united Germany the 2006 World Cup.
Turkey bid unsuccessfully to host Euro 2008 with Greece and the 2012 and 2016 tournaments on its own. It had also intended to bid for Euro 2020 before UEFA decided to spread the tournament around 13 cities across Europe.