Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

The Diarra Ruling of the Tribunal of Charleroi: The New Pechstein, Bosman or Mutu?

Yesterday the sports law world was buzzing due to the Diarra decision of the Tribunal de Commerce du Hainaut (the Tribunal) based in Charleroi, Belgium. Newspapers were lining up (here, here and here) to spread the carefully crafted announcement of the new triumph of Jean-Louis Dupont over his favourite nemesis: the transfer system. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to receive on this same night a copy of the French text of the judgment. My first reaction while reading quickly through the ruling, was ‘OMG he did it again’! “He” meaning Belgian lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont, who after a string of defeats in his long shot challenge against FIFA’s TPO ban or UEFA’s FFP (see here and here), had [at least I believed after rushing carelessly through the judgment] manufactured a new “it”: a Bosman. Yet, after carefully re-reading the judgment, it became quickly clear to me that this was rather a new Mutu (in the sense of the latest CAS award in the ‘Mutu saga’, which I have extensively analysed on this blog and in a recent commentary for the new Yearbook of International Sports Arbitration) coupled with some reflections reminding a bit (but not really as will be explicated below) the Pechstein case.

In this blog, I will retrace briefly the story behind the case and then analyse the decision of the Belgium court. In doing so, I will focus on its reasoning regarding its jurisdiction and the compatibility of article 17(2) RSTP with EU law.More...

The Russian Doping Scandal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: The IPC’s Rio Ineligibility of Russian Paralympic Athletes

Editor's note: This blog is part of a special blog series on the Russian doping scandal at the CAS. Last year I analysed the numerous decisions rendered by the CAS ad hoc Division in Rio and earlier this year I reviewed the CAS award in the IAAF case.

Unlike the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) was very much unaffected by the Russian doping scandal until the publication of the first McLaren report in July 2016. The report highlighted that Russia’s doping scheme was way more comprehensive than what was previously thought. It extended beyond athletics to other disciplines, including Paralympic sports. Furthermore, unlike the International Olympic Committee (IOC) the IPC had a bit more time to deal with the matter, as the Rio Paralympic Games were due to start “only” in September.

After the release of the McLaren Report, the IPC president Sir Philip Craven was “truly shocked, appalled and deeply saddened at the extent of the state sponsored doping programme implemented in Russia”. He immediately announced the IPC’s intention to review the report’s findings and to act strongly upon them. Shortly thereafter, on 22 July, the IPC decided to open suspension proceedings against the National Paralympic Committee of Russia (NPC Russia) in light of its apparent inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations. In particular, due to “the prevailing doping culture endemic within Russian sport, at the very highest levels, NPC Russia appears unable or unwilling to ensure compliance with and the enforcement of the IPC’s Anti-Doping Code within its own national jurisdiction”. A few weeks later, on 7 August, the IPC Governing Board decided to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee with immediate effect “due to its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory)”. Indeed, these “obligations are a fundamental constitutional requirement for all National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), and are vital to the IPC’s ability to ensure fair competition and to provide a level playing field for all Para athletes around the world”. Consequently, the Russian Paralympic Committee lost all rights and privileges of IPC membership. Specifically, it was not entitled to enter athletes in competitions sanctioned by the IPC, and/or to participate in IPC activities. Thus, “the Russian Paralympic Committee will not be able to enter its athletes in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games”. More...


The Russian Doping Scandal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport: The IAAF’s Rio Ineligibility of Russian Athletes

Since the release of the earth-shattering ARD documentary two years ago, the athletics world has been in a permanent turmoil. The International Athletics Association Federation (IAAF) is faced with both a never-ending corruption scandal (playing out in front of the French police authorities) and the related systematic doping of Russian athletes. The situation escalated in different phases led by the revelations of Russian insiders. First, in December 2014 with the ARD documentary, which demonstrated how widespread (and organized) the recourse to doping was in Russian athletics. It triggered the Pound investigation financed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which led to two damaging reports (available here and here) for the Russian anti-doping system and the IAAF itself. Thereafter, in November 2015, the IAAF had no other choice but to provisionally suspend the Russian athletics federation (ARAF then RusAF) and its members from IAAF competitions. Yet, this was only the beginning as shortly after the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping laboratory provided a detailed sketch to the New York Times of the operation of a general state-led doping scheme in Russia. The system was designed to avert any positive doping tests for top-level Russian sportspeople and was going way beyond athletics. These allegations were later largely confirmed and reinforced by the McLaren investigation initiated by WADA in May 2016, and which published its first report in July 2016 shortly before the Rio Olympics. In June 2016, the IAAF anticipated the conclusions of the report (it had received most of McLaren’s evidence beforehand) and decided to maintain the ineligibility of Russian athletes for IAAF competitions, and for the Rio Olympics. It did, however, foresee a narrow exception for Russian athletes able to show that they were properly tested outside of Russia. Nonetheless, the athletes using this exception were to compete under a neutral flag at the Olympics. Unsurprisingly, Russian athletes led by pole superstar (and now IOC member), Yelena Isinbayeva, and the Russian Olympic Committee decided to challenge this decision in front of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). Interestingly, while the decision was rendered on 21 July 2016, the full text of the award was publically released only on 10 October 2016. In September, I analysed the Rio CAS Ad Hoc Decisions involving Russian athletes aiming to participate to the Olympics. I will now turn to the IAAF decision, which is of great importance to the future of the anti-doping system. Indeed, it lays out the fundamental legal boundaries of the capacity of international federations to impose sanctions on their members (and their members) in order to support the world anti-doping fight. More...

International and European Sports Law – Monthly Report – November and December 2016. By Saverio Spera.

Editor’s note: This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on International and European Sports Law based on the daily coverage provided on our twitter feed @Sportslaw_asser. You are invited to complete this survey via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we might have overlooked. 


The Headlines

The Russian State Doping Scandal and the crisis of the World Anti-Doping System

Russian doping and the state of the Anti-Doping System has been the dominant international sports law story in November and December. This is mainly due to the release of the second report of the McLaren’s investigation on 9 December 2016. The outcome of McLaren’s work showed a “well-oiled systemic cheating scheme” that reached to the highest level of Russian sports and government, involving the striking figure of 30 sports and more than 1000 athletes in doping practices over four years and two Olympic Games. The report detailed tampering with samples to swap out athletes’ dirty urine with clean urine.More...


FIFA’s provision on the protection of minors - Part 3: The compatibility of Article 19 with EU law. By Kester Mekenkamp.

Editor’s note: Kester Mekenkamp is an LL.M. student in European Law at Leiden University and an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre. This blog is, to a great extent, an excerpt of his forthcoming thesis, which he shall submit in order to complete his master’s degree.

This final blog aims to provide some broader perspective, by sketching first the grander scheme in which Article 19 RSTP – FIFA's provision on the protection of minors – operates. Thereafter, the focus will shift towards testing Article 19 RSTP, thereby keeping in mind the previous blogs (Part 1: The Early Years and Part 2: The 2009 reform and its aftermath), against EU free movement law.  


Putting Article 19 RSTP into perspective: The bigger picture

After having investigated the nuts and bolts of FIFA’s provision on the protection of minors in the first two parts of this blog, it might be useful to address its bigger picture.

Article 19 RSTP and its accompanying provisions regulate only a small share of the targeted activity. There is, unfortunately, also an illegal world. Circumvention of the prohibition is allegedly commonplace.[1] Visas and passports can be falsified.[2] Work permits can be obtained on the basis of jobs arranged by clubs.[3] More...


FIFA’s provision on the protection of minors - Part 2: The 2009 reform and its aftermath. By Kester Mekenkamp.

Editor’s note: Kester Mekenkamp is an LL.M. student in European Law at Leiden University and an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre. This blog is, to a great extent, an excerpt of his forthcoming thesis, which he shall submit in order to complete his master’s degree.


This is the second part of a three-piece blog on FIFA’s provision on the protection of minors, Article 19 of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. The contribution in its entirety aims to provide an encompassing overview of the rule’s lifespan since its inception in 2001. The previous (first) part has shed light on the “birth” and “first years” of the provision, and as such illustrated the relevant developments from 2001 till 2009. This second part covers the rule’s “adolescent years”, which span from 2009 to the present. The major changes put forward in the 2009, 2015 and 2016 versions of the RSTP will be addressed. Thereafter the important CAS decisions concerning Article 19, Muhic, Vada I and II, FC Barcelona, RFEF, and the FIFA decisions relating to Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid, will be scrutinized. The third, and final, part will constitute a substantive assessment of the provision under EU Internal Market law.

Given that the version adopted in 2008 left Article 19 untouched, the 2009 RSTP represented the next significant step in the regulation of the protection of minors. It had become clear that the system as used up to that point was inadequate to achieve its goal,[1] most notably because several national associations still neglected to strictly apply the rules.[2] More...


FIFA’s provision on the protection of minors - Part 1: The Early Years. By Kester Mekenkamp.

Editor’s note: Kester Mekenkamp is an LL.M. student in European Law at Leiden University and an intern at the ASSER International Sports Law Centre. This blog is, to a great extent, an excerpt of his forthcoming master thesis. 


On 24 November 2016, a claim was lodged before a Zurich commercial court against FIFA’s transfer regulations by a 17-year-old African football player.[1] The culprit, according to the allegation: The provision on the protection of minors, Article 19 of the Regulations for the Status and Transfer of Players.[2] The claimant and his parents dispute the validity of this measure, based on the view that it discriminates between football players from the European Union and those from third countries. Besides to Swiss cartel law, the claim is substantiated on EU citizenship rights, free movement and competition law. Evidently, it is difficult to assess the claim’s chance of success based on the sparse information provided in the press.[3] Be that as it may, it does provide for an ideal (and unexpected) opportunity to delve into the fascinating subject of my master thesis on FIFA’s regulatory system aimed at enhancing the protection of young football players and its compatibility with EU law. This three-part blog shall therefore try to provide an encompassing overview of the rule’s lifespan since its inception in 2001. More...


The entitlement to Training Compensation of “previous” clubs under EU Competition Law. By Josep F. Vandellos Alamilla

Editor’s note: Josep F. Vandellos is an international sports lawyer associated to RH&C (Spain). He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the publication Football Legal and a guest lecturer in the ISDE-FC Barcelona Masters’ Degree in Sports Management and Legal Skills.


Article 6 of Annexe IV (Training compensation) of the FIFA-RSTP (Ed. 2016) contains the so-called “Special Provisions for the EU/EEA” applicable to players moving from one association to another inside the territory of the European Union (EU) or the European Economic Area (EEA).
The provisions regarding training compensation result from the understanding reached between FIFA and UEFA with the European Union in March 2001[1], and subsequent modifications introduced in the FIFA-RSTP revised version of 2005 to ensure the compatibility of the transfer system with EU law.[2]
This blog will focus on the exception contained in article 6(3) Annexe IV of the FIFA-RSTP. According to this article, when “the former club” fails to offer a contract to the player, it loses its right to claim training compensation from the players’ new club, unless it can justify that it is entitled to such compensation. Instead, the right of “previous clubs” to training compensation is fully preserved irrespective of their behaviour with the player.[3] From a legal standpoint, such discrimination between the “former club” and the “previous clubs” raises some questions that I will try to address in this paper. More...



The EU State aid and sport saga: The Real Madrid Decision (part 2)

This is the second and final part of the ‘Real Madrid Saga’. Where the first part outlined the background of the case and the role played by the Spanish national courts, the second part focuses on the EU Commission’s recovery decision of 4 July 2016 and dissects the arguments advanced by the Commission to reach it. As will be shown, the most important question the Commission had to answer was whether the settlement agreement of 29 July 2011 between the Council of Madrid and Real Madrid constituted a selective economic advantage for Real Madrid in the sense of Article 107(1) TFEU.[1] Before delving into that analysis, the blog will commence with the other pending question, namely whether the Commission also scrutinized the legality of the operation Bernabeú-Opañel under EU State aid law. By way of reminder, this operation consisted of Real Madrid receiving from the municipality the land adjacent to the Bernabéu stadium, while transferring in return €6.6 million, as well as plots of land in other areas of the city. More...

Resolution of Disputes Arising From Football Contracts in Turkey. By N. Emre Bilginoglu

Editor’s note: N. Emre Bilginoglu[1] is a lawyer based in Istanbul. His book entitled “Arbitration on Football Contracts” was published in 2015.


Introduction

With a total market value of approximately 911 million EUR, the Turkish Super League ranks as one of the prominent football leagues in Europe. Five of the eighteen teams that make up half of the total market value are based in Istanbul, a busy megalopolis that hosts a population of fifteen million inhabitants.[2] As might be expected, the elevated market value brings forth a myriad of disputes, mainly between the clubs and the players. However, other crucial actors such as coaches and agents are also involved in some of the disputes. These actors of the football industry are of all countries, coming from various countries with different legal systems.

One corollary of rapid globalisation is the development of transnational law, which is quite visible in the lex sportiva.[3] Like foreign investors, foreign actors of the sports industry look for some legal security before signing a contract. FIFA does protect these foreign actors in some way, providing players and coaches legal remedies for employment-related disputes of an international dimension. But what if the legal system of the FIFA member association does not provide a reasonable legal remedy for its national actors?[4] More...


Asser International Sports Law Blog | Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play? - Conference Report – By Thomas Terraz

Asser International Sports Law Blog

Our International Sports Law Diary
The Asser International Sports Law Centre is part of the T.M.C. Asser Instituut

Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play? - Conference Report – By Thomas Terraz

Editor’s note: Thomas Terraz is a fourth year LL.B. candidate at the International and European Law programme at The Hague University of Applied Sciences with a specialisation in European Law. Currently he is pursuing an internship at the T.M.C. Asser Institute with a focus on International and European Sports Law.

 

1.     Introduction

 On March 05, the T.M.C. Asser Institute hosted ‘Mega-sporting events and human rights: What role can EU sports diplomacy play?’ a Multiplier Sporting Event organized in the framework of a European research project on ‘Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sports Diplomacy’. This project funded by the European Commission through its Erasmus+ program aims to help the EU adopt a strategic approach to sports diplomacy and to provide evidence of instances where sport can help amplify EU diplomatic messages and forge better relations with third countries. In particular, Antoine Duval from the Asser Institute is focusing on the role of EU sports diplomacy to strengthen human rights in the context of mega sporting events (MSE) both in Europe and abroad. To this end, he organized the two panels of the day focusing, on the one hand, on the ability of sport governing bodies (SGB) to leverage their diplomatic power to promote human rights, particularly in the context of MSEs and, on the other, on the EU’s role and capacity to strengthened human rights around MSEs. The following report summarizes the main points raised during the discussions.

 

2.     Context to the Event

Before diving into the panels, the scene was set by a few speakers who described the background and some of the main issues encircling the event. First, Antoine Duval (Asser Institute) kicked the day off by describing the general goal of the project and his role within it. Specifically, Duval strives to explore key questions such as: to what extent are SGB’s diplomatic actors and do they have human rights responsibilities? Also, what is the role of the EU’s sports diplomacy with regard to human rights at MSEs? Can it and should it get involved and if so, what could it do to be most effective?

Having laid the foundation of the event, Richard Parrish (Edge Hill University) described the background to the project ‘Promoting a Strategic Approach to EU Sports Diplomacy’. Parrish explained that while many countries have a clear sports diplomacy strategy, the EU has been rather ‘late’ to the party. He explained that there may be room for a soft power approach to EU sports diplomacy. The project aims to continue the political momentum gained from a 2016 report on EU sports diplomacy and has now held several events across Europe that analyze this subject from different lenses. Parrish concluded by explaining that the EU has started to be more conscious of this issue and has, for example, now included sport in its dialogue with China for the first time.

Simon Rofe (SOAS) then brought some introductory remarks to help frame the discussions that would follow. Rofe started by pointing out how human rights and diplomacy have not exactly gone hand in hand and that many diplomatic instruments are rather silent on human rights, which often has been intentional. Furthermore, there are also issues when trying to identify which and what form of human rights should be promoted, although the UN has played a leading role in this regard. There are also questions regarding what capacity for change there is within SGBs. Rofe also gave the example of how human rights have already been disseminated through sport, such as during apartheid in South Africa. Nevertheless, as SGBs gain greater roles in non-sport matters, their responsibility to respect and further human rights is significantly increased.

3.     The Panels

a.     Panel 1: Leveraging the Diplomatic Power of the Sports Governing Bodies for Human Rights

Now that the stage was set, the first panel took the floor with Antoine Duval acting as chair. Claire Jenkin (University of Hertfordshire) was the first to speak and examined the concept of legacies, especially in terms of children and young people. In other words, how can SGBs help leave positive human rights legacies in the MSEs host nations? Jenkin took the example of the International Inspiration Programme from the London 2012 Olympics, which was the first ever international legacy initiative linked to the Olympics and ran from 2007-2014. Its goal was to reach out to young people and bring sport to the youth beyond the context of the Games. In the end, it helped influence 55 national policies, strategies and legislative amendments. Jenkin highlighted, once more, how defining which human rights values to promote can be challenging. There are also many in a position that can promote human rights through sport but are simply not aware of their position as a ‘sport diplomat’. Hence, creating awareness, defining the appropriate human rights perspective and ensuring that young voices are heard in this process are essential to developing the SGBs’ human rights diplomacies.

Next up was Florian Kirschner (World Players Association/UNI Global Union) who looked at how SGBs have exercised their human rights diplomatic role. Kirschner illustrated how sport has a fundamental role in our society and is naturally connected to several human rights. The sports movement also clings to principles such as fairness, solidarity, equality and inclusion. However, Kirschner argued, SGBs have not always upheld these principles and pointed to several examples, such as widespread corruption, the award of MSEs to countries with questionable human rights records, suppression of free speech and violations of worker’s rights. There have also been instances of ‘sportwashing’, where states use sport events to try to give the impression that they are compliant with human rights, while coming short of their obligations in practice. The World Players Association, NGOs and other trade unions have come together to push SGBs, under the UN framework, to take greater account of human rights. Kirschner closed with the case of Hakeem al-Araibi and highlighted how many actors, including FIFA, were able to use their influence to push for his release.

Lucy Amis (Unicef UK/Institute for Human Rights and Business) then explained to the participants the importance of transferring the policies SGBs have adopted in relation to human rights into actual practice. This means developing strategies that enforce the values SGBs claim to uphold. There are numerous cases where sport has not lived up to these values: including cases where migrant workers are exploited to build MSE sport facilities, cases of child labor, and various instances where fans chant homophobic and racist slurs. Amis highlighted that SGBs must be especially diligent in cases affecting children because they face the highest risk of exploitation. On the other hand, sports diplomacy has helped initiate positive changes in some countries. In Rwanda, sport was used to help rebuild its society amidst significant adversities. There have also been encouraging developments in Qatar. Despite many calls to cancel the World Cup, FIFA’s persistence to hold the World Cup there has helped bring an end to the kafala system. All in all, challenges do remain. For instance, many national SGBs are limited to a very small and amateur staff, which creates greater challenges in creating, implementing and enforcing human rights strategies.

Finally, Guido Battaglia (Centre for Sport and Human Rights) closed the panel and began by giving an overview of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights’ goals and work. Battaglia described how the Centre’s main priority is helping those who are most affected by sports - the athletes, workers, and fans, among others - based on international human rights standards. The Centre promotes and fosters human rights in sport by bringing a wide variety of actors together, including SGBs, local organizing committees, governments, sponsors, broadcasters, international organizations, civil society and trade unions. The aim is to help these groups share best practices, increase their capacities and improve accountability on human rights issues. Battaglia then shared examples of how the Centre has been active in the field. One of these cases concerned Semyon Simonov, a human rights activist in Russia, who had been arrested while interviewing workers building World Cup stadiums in Volgograd. During this time, the Centre held a conference during which Human Rights Watch directly requested FIFA to monitor the situation. This eventually prompted FIFA to attend one of Simonov’s court hearings, acting as a sort of diplomatic pressure and signaling the sports world was watching. Battaglia concluded that pushing human rights through sports diplomacy, while still in its infancy, is gaining momentum and that there is enormous potential to help unite society through sport.

 

b.     Panel 2: A Human Rights Dimension for the EU’s Sports Diplomacy?

The second panel, chaired by Carmen Perez (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid), then directly confronted the central question of how the EU could develop a human rights-based sports diplomacy. Arnout Geeraert (Utrecht University) launched the panel with a purposively provocative statement that EU sports diplomacy is ridiculous and that fundamentally there should be a deepening rather than a widening of its action in this matter. Since the EU has limited resources to focus on its sports diplomacy, it should work to strengthen its current efforts. Generally, the EU promotes liberal norms such as liberty, anti-discrimination, democracy, human rights and good governance in its actions. In the sports sector, the EU has had the greatest success in steering SGBs through negative integration and soft power measures, and SGB usually comply because they seek to be on good terms with the EU. In the end, Geeraert contends that the EU’s sport diplomacy should be to place more pressure on SGBs through a variety of existing channels, including coordinating EU member state positions in international organizations like the Council of Europe, and forming alliances with non-member states. The EU could then push human rights through these various relationships, which would indirectly compel SGBs to respect human rights.

Agata Dziarnowska (European Commission) took a different view from Geeraert and argued that a widening of the EU’s sport diplomacy should also be a part of the EU’s strategy in this field. Fundamentally, Dziarnowska argued, soft power is the EU’s most effective tool, and when you add the fact that Article 165 TFEU gives the EU the ability to cooperate with third countries on issues related to sport, there is a clear path for the EU to act. When it does so, it should be promoting EU values, including those related to human rights. In this context, the EU has already begun to take action within this strategic framework. For example, promoting the aforementioned values will be part of the new Erasmus programme. Additionally, the Council relatively recently adopted Conclusions related to sports events to ‘enhance integrity, transparency and good governance in major sport events’. These Conclusions specifically addressed business and human rights principles and highlight the importance of the selection process. Dziarnowska closed by underlining that EU action will greatly rely on strong political support, particularly from the Member States.

Alexandre Mestre (Sport and Citizenship) built on Dziarnowska’s contention that there is indeed an avenue for the EU to intervene on human rights. Given the wording of Article 165 TFEU, there are a multitude of areas for EU action. Mestre explained that crucial issues such as fighting against human trafficking, doping, child labor, sexual abuse of athletes, excessive commercial/economic exploitation of athletes are matter that deserve the EU’s attention. Furthermore, recent cases, such as Caster Semenya’s dispute with World Athletics, has shown how the SGBs’ eligibility rules could be another area where the EU could add value, given its previous experience with eligibility. Moreover, the EU has tremendous experience dealing with cases of discrimination and could use this expertise as a basis to promote human rights issues. Like Geeraert, Mestre also sees the EU increasing its cooperation with other entities, such as with the Council of Europe, civil society and third countries hosting MSEs. Mestre, nevertheless, also envisages direct cooperation with SGBs as part of the EU’s sports diplomacy strategy.

Lastly, Christian Salm (European Parliamentary Research Service) gave a historical perspective on the EU’s sports diplomacy, emphasizing the European Parliament’s role. Salm described how the 1970s were truly pivotal in this story, especially since it was the ‘decade of breakthrough’ for human rights. There were two events that placed human rights as a top priority: the World Cup in Argentina in 1978 and the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Concerning the first, the European Parliament’s Political Affairs Committee decided to have a hearing concerning human rights to counter political propaganda from Argentina’s right-wing military regime. While the hearing was blocked by a vote, the socialist group decided to hold its own debate, which created a significant media interest. The hearing generated calls for the release of the opposition leader in Argentina and led to a wider debate concerning sport events, specifically with regards to boycotts. Salm then described how leading up to the 1980 Moscow Olympics the international situation following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the wave of oppression on human rights activists stimulated majority support amongst the European Parliament to boycott the Olympics. While the European Parliament was in many ways limited, it understood its role as a guardian of human rights and was able to generate significant attention to these issues. More recently, in February 2014 the European Parliament also held a public hearing on migrant workers building stadiums. With this perspective, Salm explained, the European Parliament can definitely play a part in developing a human rights dimension to EU sports diplomacy.

 

4.     Conclusion

After each of the panels, participants were able to ask questions which stimulated many fruitful discussions, such as the importance of including human rights considerations in MSE bidding processes and defining an overall EU diplomatic strategy that would effectively use the EU’s leverage on these questions. On the latter issue, to prevent a fragmented diplomatic approach, the second panel concluded that coordination between all EU actors and informal policy making – such as raising awareness through public hearings and conferences – can help create a cohesive and effective EU sports diplomacy scheme. In any event, from all the discussions, it is evident that human rights will need to play a greater role in any EU sports diplomacy strategy given the inherent human rights concerns that MSEs carry.

On behalf of the organizers, we would like to thank all the speakers and participants for ensuring a remarkably productive and rich event in difficult times. We look forward to seeing you at the Institute again soon!


Comments are closed