Today, FIFA launched a complaints mechanism for human rights defenders and media representatives who consider their rights to have been violated while performing work related to FIFA’s activities (see here). The mechanism is complemented by a detailed statement, specifying the commitment outlined in paragraph 11 of FIFA’s Human Rights Policy to respect and help protect the rights of human rights defenders and media representatives.
Both the complaints mechanism and the statement are the result of a nearly one-year process and comprise input from a range of stakeholders and expert organisations, including from FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board.
FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said: “This pioneering mechanism is an important milestone in our efforts towards ensuring respect for fundamental freedoms throughout FIFA’s operations. FIFA is committed to doing its part to support human rights defenders and freedom of the press associated with FIFA’s activities. This work is a reflection of FIFA’s conviction that all those who advocate for human rights to be upheld in relation to FIFA’s activities need to be able to do so freely and without fear of reprisals.”
The web-based complaints mechanism is hosted by a specialised external provider. It allows for anonymous reporting and follows the highest standards of data privacy and security. FIFA will respond to any complaints submitted through the mechanism in accordance with the commitments outlined in its Human Rights Policy and specified in the new statement on human rights defenders and media representatives.
These new developments complement a variety of steps, which FIFA is already taking in support of human rights defenders and journalists. Such measures include the guarantee of freedom of the press through its own media accreditation processes, FIFA’s intervention on specific cases brought to its attention, related to its activities, and the inclusion of requirements related to human rights defenders and freedom of the press in the new bidding and hosting requirements for FIFA tournaments, including for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™.