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.