The International Labour Organization (ILO) Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in the World of Sport has taken place from 20th to 22nd of January in Geneva, Switzerland. The report ‘Decent work in the world of sport’ was a basis for discussions between the employers (IOE), workers (World Players Association and its affiliates) and the governements. Additionally, sport bodies including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), World Rugby and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) have joined the disucssion about how the ILO labour standards apply to the work of athletes.
Athletes are workers and they need to have their fundamental rights protected. This is a key message from the report that includes references to key research from EU Athletes as well as FIFPro, FICA and International Rugby Players, giving an insignt into decent work challenges faced by athletes in different sports around the globe. The main findings include that professional athletes often face issues such as infufficient representation, disguised employment, discrimination, harassement, abuse, late payement of wages and unenforcable contracts as well as serious occupational health and safety risks as well as lack of effective remedy.
The report also acknowledges Universal Declaration of Players Rights (UDPR) adopted by World Players Association and its affiliates as a tool to address the labour and human rights challenges facing athletes. A core pillar of the UDPR is dedicated to labour rights which includes; the right to work, the right to organize and collectively bargain, the right to share in the economic activity of sport, the right to decent fair and just conditions and the right to physical health, mental health and social wellbeing.
Our General Secretary Paulina Tomczyk participated in the meeting as a worker representative alonglisde EU Athletes members Paul Flynn (GPA) and Dejan Stefanovic (SSS) and a number of World Players Association affiliates, with FIFPro General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffman leading the delegation. ‘Protecting athletes’ rights as people and workers is the main mission of EU Athletes. The challenges that the players face when it comes to decent work demands actions at national, regional and international level and it is very promissing that the ILO decided to support a dialogue dealing with this important topic.’ she said after the meeting.
After three days of work, the Forum adopted Points of Consensus which will be taken under consideration preparing the further work and possible follow up from the social partners, governements, and other stakeholders when it comes to assuring decent work for athletes.
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EU Athletes took part in the meeting for the European Basketball Player Associations on May 6th, in Milan. Within the scope of the European Commission funded project, “European Social Dialogue targeted initiative: strengthening social dialogue in the professional basketball sector”, the project coordinated by UNI Europa/World Players Association, with EU Athletes involved as an associated partner, brought together the basketball players associations of SNB (France), ABP (Spain) and GIBA (Italy) for this meeting.
The meeting was an opportunity for the players unions to exchange about the challenges and best practices from their respective unions, but also to discuss the entire landscape of European basketball. The meeting was an excellent platform for the sharing of the status quo of basketball players representation in Europe, identify areas for improvement in order to strengthen bargaining power and to map the stakeholder environment while identifying common positions and best practices.
The aim of this ongoing project has been to support organizing and capacity building in the professional basketball player unions, aiming to reinforce the social dialogue in basketball in order to tackle the new challenges of the game in Europe. Project also aims to gain a deeper understanding of the conditions of work, the views and experiences of both men and women basketball players.
The project will run until the end of September 2019 and the next project meeting will take place in June in Spain.
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UNI Global Union World Women’s Conference and World Congress has taken place in Liverpool 14-20th of June 2018 and brought together almost 2 000 delegates from all around the World. Being affiliated to UNI Global Union as well as its regional organization UNI Europa and the sport sector World Players Organization, EU Athletes is a part of a federation of 20 million service workers from more than 150 countries. It was an opportunity to define priorities and strategy for the years to come, to recognize the progess and the exceptional achievements but also a moment of important changes in the leadership.
Ruben Cortina, the President of UNI Americas was unanimously voted in as the new president of UNI Global Union, replacing Ann Selin who has been President of UNI Global Union for four years. Christy Hoffman has been elected as the new General Secretary, taking over from Philip Jennings, who led UNI Global Union for 18 years. Patricia Nyman was elected as President of UNI Women, following the retirement of Denise McGuire who was steering it for a decade.
EU Athletes General Secretary Paulina Tomczyk had an opportunity to share the challenges and the important work that the organization is doing in the field of women’s sport and gender equality with the World Women’s Conference.
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The World Players Association today launched a landmark standard to underpin holistic player and athlete development and wellbeing across the globe. The World Player Development, Wellbeing, Transition and Retirement Standard, Paris 2017 (Standard) addresses the acute need for sport to raise its investment in players as people as well as athletes.
Being thrust into an ever-more demanding and competitive environment at an increasingly young age, players can often struggle to develop an identity outside of their sporting personas. This can negatively impact players’ mental health, resilience and ability to successfully transition during and after their sporting careers. It can also substantially undermine athletic performance.
To address these issues, the Standard places the personal development, wellbeing and safety of players at the centre of sport. It:
- Sets the benchmark for the world of sport regarding the value it places on developing players and athletes holistically
- Serves as a tool for player associations in the negotiation and design of player development and wellbeing programs in partnership with sporting bodies, leagues and clubs
- Elevates and enhances the essential role of Player Development Managers (PDMs) in sport. PDMs, who are commonly employed by player associations, excel in tailoring personal development and wellbeing programs to the individual needs of each player.
“For the first time, world sport has a comprehensive set of minimum conditions to safeguard and resource the personal development and wellbeing of professional athletes. The Standard will both improve and expand player development and wellbeing programs, a key area in which many sports can invest more,” said Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association.
The Standard has been developed by the 75 player development and wellbeing experts including PDMs and program leaders who participated in the 2017 World Player Development Conference held earlier in Paris in April. It takes into account the research, experience and learnings of player associations from around the world who have been running cutting edge development and wellbeing programs since the 1990s.
“Player input into the Standard has been absolutely critical. It is often the player associations and PDMs who are closest to the players and most familiar with the personal challenges they confront day in and day out, ” said Omar Hassanein, Chief Executive Officer of the International Rugby Players’ Association and chair of the World Player Development Steering committee.
The Standard is guided by the principles that player development and wellbeing is a matter of occupational safety and health and that sport owes the players a duty of care. On this basis, the World Players Association looks forward to engaging with sporting organisations and employers regarding the adoption and implementation of the Standard.
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A Working Group meeting of European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sport and Active Leisure has taken place in Brussels on the 29th of May 2017. The discussions were mainly focused on the evaluation of the Social Dialogue project concluded this year, fix-term contracts in the sport sector and the Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020 that has been recently adopted by the Council.
The participants have also been informed about the decision of the Austrian court in the case of Vanessa Sahinovic, who after being hit by the bus during European Games in Baku in 2015 became paralyzed. The court, analysing her status as a member of the national team in order to analyze the social security regime, has found that, even without the employment contract and salary, it should be assimilated with labour relation. It is an important development regarding the denial of worker’s status and rights to many athletes in Europe.
The plenary ESSDC meeting will take place in Brussels on the 8th of November 2017.
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Championing the theme #people first – embedding holistic player development in world sport – World Player Development Conference will kick off in Paris today. Over the course of three days, 75 of the leading player development professionals and player association executives from 28 countries and 10 different sports will exchange on current challenges and future scenarios regarding the personal development and social wellbeing of players.
The World Players Association has invited a wide range of speakers covering issues such as career advice and guidance, personal branding, mental health, the impact of wearable technology, safeguarding of minors, and the structuring and evaluation of player development programs. Player development and wellbeing is a vital concern for player associations and sport given the intense, short term and precarious nature of an athletic career.
Jean-Francois Reymond, Director of the French basketball players’ union (Syndicat National des Basketteurs) and Vice-president of World Players said: “We are thrilled to host the World Player Development Conference here in Paris. Player development has long been a priority issue for French players’ unions and we have always stressed that a dual career as such is not enough. Players are people first and a quality player development program must reflect that.”
As part of the conference program the delegates will develop the The Paris World Player Development and Wellbeing Standard, a document which asserts that sport and the player association movement share an important responsibility to develop the full potential of players as professionals, people, and citizens.
“The Standard will have two key purposes”, Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of World Players, explained. “First, it will serve as a tool for our members when negotiating, developing, implementing and measuring their player development and wellbeing programs. Second, it will provide a benchmark against which the world of professional sport can be assessed regarding the value it places on player development.”
“The Standard will provide an excellent reference point for FIFPro, its members, and other football stakeholders to measure their work and commitment in this field. We look forward to its development and adoption. The conference will enhance our understanding of how to better support our players as individuals off the pitch,” added Frederique Winia, World Players Executive Committee member and Director of International Relations of FIFPro, the co-host of the conference.
The conference comes on the heels of the World Players Association’s unveiling of its new strategic vision #WorldPlayersUnited last week. “Developing players holistically and empowering players’ associations worldwide to do this job are key priorities of our new strategy,” said Schwab. “This conference will be instrumental in order to tackle these goals.”
In attendance are representatives from the World Players’ Association’s peak body affiliates such as the Australian Athletes Alliance, EU Athletes, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, the International Rugby Players’ Association, the Japanese Professional Baseball Players’ Association, the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and the National Football League Players’ Association. The event will be facilitated by Sean Cottrell, CEO and founder of the sports law website LawInSport.
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