Media freedom must be put in place by sports

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Media freedom must be put in place by sports

Media freedom features in a set of resolutions about major sports events and organisations to be debated tomorrow (Wednesday) by The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE) Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media.

PACE will debate reports by Council of Europe Rapporteurs Mogens Jensen and Anne Brasseur, and is expected to adopt final resolutions on Sports Governance and on Governance in Football.

Amongst numerous proposals for the reform of sports governance and mega-event hosting, is a draft resolution in Anne Brasseur’s report “Good football governance” , calling for FIFA and UEFA take responsibility on human rights. She has said that “A radical change in the culture of football governance is needed”.

Her report presents a number of proposals on how to improve football governance at club level and on a wider scale at FIFA, UEFA and the member associations.

The resolution (11.2) calls upon FIFA and UEFA to ‘insist with the governments of the host countries on the necessity of protecting the fundamental civil and political rights, and in particular the freedom of expression – including the freedom of the media – and the freedom of peaceful meetings, and not only in connection with their competitions but beyond’.

It also recommends that they ‘introduce effective checks on compliance with the obligations entered into by countries that apply to host major football competitions and by their national associations’.

Brasseur proposes that the governing bodies introduce checks on compliance for countries that apply to host major competitions, insisting that governments protect fundamental civil and political rights including freedom of the media (11.2.2) and ensuring that all cases of serious breaches of human rights by event organisers are made public.

One important proposal is to include an explicit rule in the FIFA and UEFA Statutes that would prevent government involvement in decision-making bodies, avoiding undue political influence over decisions by sports organisations.

Brasseur does appreciate that FIFA and UEFA have recently adopted a series of measures to protect human rights, protection of minors and gender equality in football. But she believes that effective oversight will have to be in effect for these measures to be implemented.

PACE will also discuss the need for enhanced international co-operation and regulation after Mogens Jensen called for more reforms in international sport in his report “The legitimacy crisis in international sports governance“ .

He has said,

“In recent years, an avalanche of scandals has marred values of fair-play and revealed an urgent need to reform the archaic management models of sports governance that lack democratic structures, transparency and accountability in decision-making, and continue to feed the ground for corruption and impunity.”

It proposes a framework of common criteria for good governance, a certification standard on governance of sports organisations and an independent sports ethics rating system.

A convention on good governance in sport is also suggested, and it would be a legally binding agreement between countries. It could be similar to structures that the Council of Europe already has in place regarding match-fixing, doping and spectator violence.





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