The World Players Association has released a “Declaration on Safeguarding the Rights of Child Athletes” to help protect children participating in sport from growing concerns over the early professionalisation of child athletes and the violation of their fundamental rights, including sexual abuse and trafficking.
“In the quest for medals and new records, we tend to forget that child athletes are children first and athletes second. They must have opportunities to freely play and fully develop instead of having their identities narrowed early in the pursuit of sporting excellence”, Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association, said today.
Recent reports revealing widespread sexual abuse have led World Players and its affiliates to increase their focus on safeguarding the fundamental rights of children in sport.
The “Declaration on Safeguarding the Rights of Child Athletes” places the best interests of the child as the guiding principle for any involvement of children in sport. It sets out key principles and action areas in which sport’s stakeholders must work together to ensure sport is always a safe space for children.
The “Declaration on Safeguarding the Rights of Child Athletes” also provided the basis for a joint statement of the European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sport and Active Leisure, where EU Athletes and its members represent the professional sub-sector, signed at its plenary meeting on the 8th of November in Brussels.
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The World Players Association today launched a landmark standard to underpin holistic player and athlete development and wellbeing across the globe. The World Player Development, Wellbeing, Transition and Retirement Standard, Paris 2017 (Standard) addresses the acute need for sport to raise its investment in players as people as well as athletes.
Being thrust into an ever-more demanding and competitive environment at an increasingly young age, players can often struggle to develop an identity outside of their sporting personas. This can negatively impact players’ mental health, resilience and ability to successfully transition during and after their sporting careers. It can also substantially undermine athletic performance.
To address these issues, the Standard places the personal development, wellbeing and safety of players at the centre of sport. It:
- Sets the benchmark for the world of sport regarding the value it places on developing players and athletes holistically
- Serves as a tool for player associations in the negotiation and design of player development and wellbeing programs in partnership with sporting bodies, leagues and clubs
- Elevates and enhances the essential role of Player Development Managers (PDMs) in sport. PDMs, who are commonly employed by player associations, excel in tailoring personal development and wellbeing programs to the individual needs of each player.
“For the first time, world sport has a comprehensive set of minimum conditions to safeguard and resource the personal development and wellbeing of professional athletes. The Standard will both improve and expand player development and wellbeing programs, a key area in which many sports can invest more,” said Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of the World Players Association.
The Standard has been developed by the 75 player development and wellbeing experts including PDMs and program leaders who participated in the 2017 World Player Development Conference held earlier in Paris in April. It takes into account the research, experience and learnings of player associations from around the world who have been running cutting edge development and wellbeing programs since the 1990s.
“Player input into the Standard has been absolutely critical. It is often the player associations and PDMs who are closest to the players and most familiar with the personal challenges they confront day in and day out, ” said Omar Hassanein, Chief Executive Officer of the International Rugby Players’ Association and chair of the World Player Development Steering committee.
The Standard is guided by the principles that player development and wellbeing is a matter of occupational safety and health and that sport owes the players a duty of care. On this basis, the World Players Association looks forward to engaging with sporting organisations and employers regarding the adoption and implementation of the Standard.
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A Working Group meeting of European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Sport and Active Leisure has taken place in Brussels on the 29th of May 2017. The discussions were mainly focused on the evaluation of the Social Dialogue project concluded this year, fix-term contracts in the sport sector and the Work Plan for Sport 2017-2020 that has been recently adopted by the Council.
The participants have also been informed about the decision of the Austrian court in the case of Vanessa Sahinovic, who after being hit by the bus during European Games in Baku in 2015 became paralyzed. The court, analysing her status as a member of the national team in order to analyze the social security regime, has found that, even without the employment contract and salary, it should be assimilated with labour relation. It is an important development regarding the denial of worker’s status and rights to many athletes in Europe.
The plenary ESSDC meeting will take place in Brussels on the 8th of November 2017.
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Championing the theme #people first – embedding holistic player development in world sport – World Player Development Conference will kick off in Paris today. Over the course of three days, 75 of the leading player development professionals and player association executives from 28 countries and 10 different sports will exchange on current challenges and future scenarios regarding the personal development and social wellbeing of players.
The World Players Association has invited a wide range of speakers covering issues such as career advice and guidance, personal branding, mental health, the impact of wearable technology, safeguarding of minors, and the structuring and evaluation of player development programs. Player development and wellbeing is a vital concern for player associations and sport given the intense, short term and precarious nature of an athletic career.
Jean-Francois Reymond, Director of the French basketball players’ union (Syndicat National des Basketteurs) and Vice-president of World Players said: “We are thrilled to host the World Player Development Conference here in Paris. Player development has long been a priority issue for French players’ unions and we have always stressed that a dual career as such is not enough. Players are people first and a quality player development program must reflect that.”
As part of the conference program the delegates will develop the The Paris World Player Development and Wellbeing Standard, a document which asserts that sport and the player association movement share an important responsibility to develop the full potential of players as professionals, people, and citizens.
“The Standard will have two key purposes”, Brendan Schwab, Executive Director of World Players, explained. “First, it will serve as a tool for our members when negotiating, developing, implementing and measuring their player development and wellbeing programs. Second, it will provide a benchmark against which the world of professional sport can be assessed regarding the value it places on player development.”
“The Standard will provide an excellent reference point for FIFPro, its members, and other football stakeholders to measure their work and commitment in this field. We look forward to its development and adoption. The conference will enhance our understanding of how to better support our players as individuals off the pitch,” added Frederique Winia, World Players Executive Committee member and Director of International Relations of FIFPro, the co-host of the conference.
The conference comes on the heels of the World Players Association’s unveiling of its new strategic vision #WorldPlayersUnited last week. “Developing players holistically and empowering players’ associations worldwide to do this job are key priorities of our new strategy,” said Schwab. “This conference will be instrumental in order to tackle these goals.”
In attendance are representatives from the World Players’ Association’s peak body affiliates such as the Australian Athletes Alliance, EU Athletes, the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, the International Rugby Players’ Association, the Japanese Professional Baseball Players’ Association, the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and the National Football League Players’ Association. The event will be facilitated by Sean Cottrell, CEO and founder of the sports law website LawInSport.
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UNI World Athletes, which brings together 85,000 players across professional sport through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries, has today unveiled its new strategic vision – #WorldPlayersUnited – to ensure the voice of the player is heeded in the running of sport.
The new vision sees UNI World Athletes become the World Players Association.
#WorldPlayersUnited involves placing the voice of the players at the centre of world sport’s decision-making through a powerful strategic focus on three pillars.
Build the voice of the players and the power of the player association movement
Embed the fundamental rights of the players in world sport
Work to embed the human rights of everyone involved in the delivery of sport, included affected groups such as workers, local communities, journalists and fans.
“#WorldPlayersUnited introduces the organised and highly respected voice of the players and their organisations to the leadership of world sport,” World Players Executive Director Brendan Schwab said. “In so doing, it envisages a future world of sport that is very different to the one that exists today.”
“Our vision is to champion the dignity of the player and the humanity of sport.”
“We have a three-part goal in the pursuit of this vision. First, the human rights of everyone involved in the delivery of sport must be protected, respected and fulfilled. Second, the same must be true for the players. And, third, the impact of sport must be positive, including in sporting, economic, environmental and cultural terms.”
“The attainment of this goal in full is necessary if sport is to retain its social licence. The future world of sport will therefore be underpinned by adherence to universal principles and international law.”
World Players President Don Fehr, the Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association said, “The purpose of World Players is to ensure that the players across sports who have common interests get together and play their role so that the key decisions in world sport that affect them are no longer made without their agreement.”
“As a guiding principle, we hold that all players should be free to negotiate the terms upon which they are involved in world sport, and to be represented by persons and organisations of their choice.”
“The players are very concerned about human rights, very concerned about labour rights and recognise that neither means very much without a prompt and effective remedy.”
World Players Vice President Theo van Seggelen, the Secretary General of FIFPro, the world football players’ union, said, “The world’s footballers are united with players across sport to ensure the rights of all players are respected and that international sport is governed free of corruption, cheating and the abuse of human rights. We will act across the world with solidarity. Players who are members of a player association in one country or sport can rely on the support of World Players and our affiliated player associations.”
National Football League Players Association Executive Director and World Players Executive Committee member, DeMaurice Smith said, “We are proud to be a part of this effort on behalf of athletes across the world. No matter what the sport is, or where it is played, athletes can and should protect their basic rights through solidarity. World Players United is an organization that will speak on the important principles of global athletes with one voice.”
The World Players Association is a sector of UNI Global Union. Its General Secretary Philip Jennings, who has been instrumental in the development of World Players, praised the new strategy.
“It is incredibly important to see the players of the world organise around both their rights and the rights of everyone involved in sport. The rate of player unionisation is increasing dramatically around the world for both men and women. Everyone involved in sport needs decent work and a fair wage, be they players, construction workers preparing for Mega-Sporting Events or workers involved in sports’ supply chains.”
Major player associations affiliated to World Players include
World Players Executive Committee
- Don Fehr (Canada), the Executive Director of the NHLPA (President)
- Theo van Seggelen (The Netherlands), the Secretary General of FIFPro (First Vice President)
- Jeff Reymond (France), the General Secretary of EU Athletes (Vice President)
- Omar Hassanein (Ireland), IRPA Board member and CEO of the Irish Rugby Union Players Association
- Tony Irish (South Africa), FICA Executive Chairman and CEO of the South African Cricketers’ Association
- Paul Marsh (Australia), AAA Board member and Australian Football League Players Association CEO
- DeMaurice Smith (United States), the Executive Director of the NFLPA
- Dejan Stefanovic (Slovenia), FIFPro Board member and president of the Slovenian footballers and athletes union
- Frederique Winia (The Netherlands), the Director of International Relations of FIFPro
- Takuya Yamazaki (Japan), Legal Counsel and Board member of the JPBPA
- Philip Jennings, the General Secretary of the UNI Global Union (ex officio)
World Players Executive Director
UNI Global Union
The World Players Association was formally established in December 2014 as an autonomous sector of UNI Global Union (UNI). It has been known as UNI World Athletes until today’s announcement.
Based in Nyon, Switzerland, UNI represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions in the fastest growing sectors in the world – skills and services, including media and sport. UNI and its affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.
To arrange an interview with Brendan Schwab or for more information please contact: Richard Elliott, Director of Communications UNI Global Union, firstname.lastname@example.org +41 79 794 9709
@WorldPlayersUtd ¦ @uniglobalunion ¦ @BrendanSchwab
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The social partners of the sports sector, UNI Europa and EASE, have developed three new tools for comprehensive risk evaluation, with the support from the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work, EU-OSHA.
The sports sector accounts for a very high rate of work-related accidents. Comprehensive risk evaluation is the first step forward to proper risk management and employee protection.
The three tools respond to the great variety of activities in the sector: active leisure, not for profit and professional sports. Social partners as well as OiRA partners at national level are invited to adapt these EU sports tools to their own needs and context.
EU Athletes, as an affiliate of UNI Europa, participated in the work of European Sectorial Social Dialogue in Sport and contributed to the creation of the OiRA tool for the professional sport.
Learn more about occupational safety and health in the sports sector! Check out the tools on the website: http://www.oiraproject.eu/oira-tools
Please spread the news and share our tool using the hashtags #EUSportSafe and #OiRAtools
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