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FIFPRO supports universal player rights

Human Rights Statement

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On 14 December 2017 the worlds leading player associations unveiled the Universal Declaration of Player Rights (the Declaration) to protect sportsmen and women from ongoing and systemic human rights violations in global sport.

FIFPRO was proud to be a part of this essential leap forward for professional sports people everywhere.

The Declaration was the first comprehensive articulation of rights for professional players and long overdue reforms to the governance of sport. In doing so it set out a number of principles and established a benchmark for international sporting organisations to meet their obligations to protect, respect and guarantee the fundamental rights of players.

Key principles of the Declaration include:

  • Every player is entitled to equality of opportunity in the pursuit of sport without distinction of any kind and free of discrimination, harassment and violence.
  • Every player has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
  • The rights of every child athlete must be protected.
  • Every player has the right to share fairly in the economic activity and wealth of his or her sport which players have helped generate, underpinned by fair and just pay and working conditions.
  • Every player has the right to organise and collectively bargain.
  • Every player is entitled to have his or her name, image and performance protected. A player’s name, image and performance may only be commercially utilised with his or her consent, voluntarily given.
  • Every player has the right to a private life, privacy and protection in relation to the collection, storage and transfer of personal data.
  • Every player must be able to access an effective remedy when his or her human rights are not respected and upheld. This is particularly crucial given the highly skilled yet short term and precarious nature of the athletic career.


The Declaration was developed by the more than 100 player associations affiliated to World Players, including FIFPRO. This process included a thorough review process by human and labour rights experts so that it is firmly anchored in international human rights law and core International Labour Organisation standards. The Declaration also drew on feedback from thousands of players based on wide-ranging surveys.

“The rule books of world sport impose thousands of pages of onerous obligations, but none clearly spell out the internationally recognised human rights of athletes,” said Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association.

“The result is an unjust system of sports law that lacks legitimacy and fails to protect the very people who sit at the heart of sport. We are making it clear that athlete rights can no longer be ignored. They must be able to quickly access justice.”