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HUMAN RIGHTS

WHEN SPORTS FALLS IN LOVE WITH DICTATORSHIPS

Human rights isn’t on the agenda in sports federations.

BY LARS ANDERSSON, TEAM TEKSTWERK Big sports are all about athletes competing. About people cheering. About humans enjoying life. It is sheer pleasure. Or is it? When the International Olympic Committee (IOC, ed.) and the sports federations point to a host for a major sport event it is big business. It’s a great fairy tale where a host must provide the best framework for a play that thrills the World and gets cool cash to the Sports World. It is there the countries come in. The countries that want to use sport to brand a nation and a regime. And the trend in the real world is that authoritarian regimes are bidding heavily for to host international sporting events to improve their image at home and abroad. They can spend exorbitant amounts of public funds largely unchecked, for example without regard for social rights, human rights and environmental concerns – while democratic states have to explain whether the rising costs associated with mega-events are worth the risk. The sports federations are a willing partner for the authoritarian

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SPORT EXECUTIVE

regimes despite human rights and despite dictatorships. 50 percent of the big sport events in the coming years in five big sports and the Olympics are going to take place in nations where regimes violate basic human rights – despite the Olympic Charter telling us otherwise (see box, ed.). NO POLITICAL AGENDA This is shown in an analysis Sport Executive made for the Olympics and the World Championships in athletics, cycling, football, gymnastics and swimming. But as Patrick Hickey, president of the European Olympic Committees (EOC), tells Sport Executive when he explains why Azerbaijan hosted the first European Games in 2015: “The EOC will not seek to impose any political agenda on a sovereign state or society. However, we have sought and received the assurance from the authorities in Azerbaijan that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be protected

throughout the European Games. These were the only criteria the EOC considered when selecting Baku as the host city of the European Games because they are the only criteria that the EOC, as a sports organisation, is qualified to consider.” IOC president Thomas Bach says the same in a letter to Human Rights Watch, dated 15 July 2015: “As a sporting organisation, we are not in a position to dictate the wider laws of any sovereign nation. This is not our role. Our role is that when it comes to evaluate Candidate Cities and to elect Host Cities, we have the necessary guarantees that there is no discrimination of any kind at the Games.” According to Thomas Bach’s words: That must be the case in Azerbaijan, China, Qatar, Russia and Brazil? Or? SPORTS IS COMPLICIT IN ABUSES Non-governmental organisations has apparently have a different view:

Sport Executive August 15  

Sport Executive er et gratis magasin på nettet om sport. Sport er den hurtigst voksende branche i dette årtusinde – såvel i Danmark som worl...

Sport Executive August 15  

Sport Executive er et gratis magasin på nettet om sport. Sport er den hurtigst voksende branche i dette årtusinde – såvel i Danmark som worl...

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