In an off-field victory for human rights, FIFA has reversed its sponsorship plans with Go to Saudi, Saudi Arabia’s state tourism authority, for the 2023 Women’s Planet Cup. The Women’s Planet Cup is the premier worldwide occasion in women’s football and has extended been a moment to celebrate women’s rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and inclusion.
FIFA’s selection to award Go to Saudi sponsorship of the Women’s Planet Cup showed a shocking disregard for the repression and suffering of brave defenders of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, rightly condemned as an “personal purpose” by prime players.
Saudi Arabia is a worldwide advocate for women’s rights and also violates the rights of LGBT individuals. As lately as 2018, females and girls are banned from playing sports in schools – or even watching sporting events in stadiums. On International Women’s Day 2022, Saudi authorities passed Saudi Arabia’s initial Private Status Law, which codifies repressive male guardianship guidelines and consists of discriminatory provisions against females connected to marriage, divorce and choices about their kids. In August 2022, Saudi Arabia sentenced Salma Al-Shehab, a Saudi PhD student studying in the United Kingdom, to 34 years in prison for making use of Twitter.
Human Rights Watch has documented Saudi Arabia’s extended-standing practice of “sports laundering,” which entails spending billions of dollars to host important sporting, entertainment, and cultural events as a deliberate method to deflect criticism from the country’s pervasive and systemic human rights abuses.
Human Rights Watch wrote to FIFA on February three to highlight the contradiction among the Saudi Arabian Tourism Authority’s sponsorship of the Women’s Planet Cup and the soccer body’s claim that human rights are a core portion of its values. We also asked FIFA what consultations it undertook with players, host nations and other stakeholders just before signing the sponsorship deal. FIFA did not respond to the letter.
FIFA has incorporated human rights given that 2016 and adopted a human rights policy which states that “human rights obligations are binding on all FIFA bodies and officials”. In practice, it did not constantly fulfill these promises.
Girls footballers have the ideal to protest that FIFA has monetized their game, with out security, access, equal spend for equal function, consultation or permission.
FIFA’s selection to cancel Go to Saudi’s sponsorship of the Women’s Planet Cup should really be the initial step towards constant human rights due diligence and remedy in all its operations.