Children’s Rights in the Sports Context

Executive Summary

This White Paper examines the manifold risks of mega-sporting events (MSEs) to children. It reviews the impact that MSEs can have on the development and the rights of children in the country or city where an MSE is taking place, as well as the impact on children affected as athletes, through the supply of goods and services for the event, or through the marketing and advertising of products during the event and its broadcast. It highlights some encouraging practice which has emerged in relation to MSEs and children, whilst recognising that the process of considering child specific measures and policies in the frame of MSEs is still in its infancy. It proposes that, since children are more vulnerable than adults and need specific support to guarantee that their rights are upheld, MSE awarding bodies should adopt an explicit child rights focus to ensure the right action is taken to address the potential impact that these events can have on children. Awareness about the specific rights and needs of children and the existence of potential negative impacts is the starting point for action. This requires the capacity of governing bodies and other stakeholders related to MSEs to be increased. This White Paper gives some insight and suggestions for how this could be achieved, as well as suggestions for the processes which will need to be in place for future events. It concludes by reflecting on the role that an independent ‘centre’ could play in making MSEs a place where children’s rights are respected and protected, highlighting potential roles in relation to knowledge sharing, service provision and monitoring capacities. It proposes that these mechanisms should be easily adaptable to local needs and focused on generating rapid progress for the child-sensitive organisation of MSEs. 


In addition, the Mega-Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform) publishes the Sporting Chance White Papers, a series of 11 white papers that present the latest thinking, practice, and debate in relation to key human rights issues involved in the planning, construction, delivery, and legacy of mega-sporting events. Please click here for the other papers.

Date published