The third edition of the World Players Association – World Player Development Conference was hosted by FIFPro in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands from 2 – 4 April 2019.
The conference brought together more than 100 of the world’s leading player development professionals and player association executives from 47 countries and more than 13 different sports to learn from internationally recognized experts. A number of EU Athletes member associations participated in the event, allowing them to exchange views and experiences with other player associations’ representatives from around the World.
This conference was a unique opportunity to share the work done in Europe on player development and dual career support for professional players and elite athletes.
“Our members at EU Athletes are at the front line when it comes to developing programs to support players on dual career issues. We have great examples in many countries including Ireland, UK, Spain or Sweden. This conference allowed everyone to share their own experience and to also collect lots of information to improve their own program. We are now looking forward to the next conference in two years”. Paulina Tomczyk, EU Athletes General Secretary
The conference also highlighted the importance of such a forum for player associations:
“The amount of work that is being done in different countries and sports the field of player development is simply amazing and fascinating. It goes from induction seminars to face-to-face education programs or mental health support for players. We are all gaining a lot from a gathering like this one. We then can all go back to our association and evaluate what works and what can be improved. It’s really beneficial” Camille Delzant, UNFP and EU Athletes Board Member
The next forum will take place in the U.S, in 2021.
Find out more about EU Athletes PDM project on player development here
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EU Athletes supports the position of World Players Association, human rights advocates and athlete organisations, calling on the International Olympic Committee to seriously address the abuse of athlete rights. Statement from World Players Association:
NYON, SWITZERLAND – The World Players Association and the Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) have called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to abandon a proposed IOC declaration of athlete rights and commit to seriously address the abuse of athlete rights in world sport.
The proposed declaration is to be presented to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires next week. The World Players Association and the SRA have written to the IOC President Thomas Bach expressing their deep concern that the declaration will curtail fundamental athlete rights rather than protect them. National athlete bodies from Canada, Great Britain, Germany and the United States made the same call of the IOC.
“Athlete rights are not a game,” said Brendan Schwab, the Executive Director of World Players, the exclusive global association of organised players and athletes across professional sport. “The IOC’s proposed declaration does not come close to respecting the internationally recognised human rights of athletes, relegates athlete rights beneath the rules of sport governing bodies, and fails to give the victims of human rights abuse access to an effective remedy. It falls appallingly below the requirements of the Universal Declaration of Player Rights.
“Many athletes in the world today are confronting the violation of their fundamental rights, from the horrors of sex and child abuse to racism, discrimination, economic exploitation, environments that are physically and mentally unsafe, and suppression of their fundamental rights of freedom of association and expression.
“As the governing body of the Olympic Movement, the IOC has both a duty and the leverage to embed the fundamental rights of athletes throughout the Olympic Movement.”
The SRA – an unprecedented global coalition of NGOs and trade unions including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation and Transparency International Germany – has called for the IOC to postpone the development of any declaration of athlete rights.
Gigi Alford, coordinator of the SRA, said:
“The work that has been conducted by the IOC, including a limited athletes’ survey, cannot fulfil the requirements of meaningful consultation nor fully inform the IOC of the salient human rights risks confronting athletes.
“It is essential that the IOC delay the adoption of any declaration of athlete rights. It must instead prioritize implementing the framework of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, consisting of making a human rights policy commitment, conducting continuous human rights due diligence, and putting in place processes to enable the remediation of any adverse human rights impacts the IOC may cause or to which it may contribute.”
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EU Athletes has participated in the meetings organized by the World Players Association and taking place in New York at the NBPA’s office, on 5-6th of April 2018. The Executive Committee discussed latest developments in the organization’s wok on embedding human rights of athletes in sport, improving the governance of sport organizations and necessary reform of anti-doping system.
The meeting was followed by “Beyond Integrity” conference which gathered experts in the field of sport betting in order to discuss the impact it has on athletes and the possibilities for player associations to cooperate with the industry.
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WASHINGTON—The world’s leading player association executives—collectively representing more than 85,000 players and athletes—will announce a Universal Declaration of Player Rights (Declaration) on 14 December 2017 in Washington, D.C. The Declaration will address the persistent, systemic and long-standing violations of players’ fundamental rights throughout world sport. It is the first framework ever that explicitly articulates the internationally recognised human and labour rights of players across the world.
The unveiling of the Declaration will be part of a gathering of the world’s largest and most influential player associations. In attendance and available for interviews will be 30 of the world’s leading player union executives from a variety of sports including football, basketball, rugby, cricket, baseball and ice hockey:
- Brendan Schwab (Switzerland), Executive Director of the World Players Association
- DeMaurice Smith (United States), Executive Director of the NFLPA and World Players Executive Committee member
- Don Fehr (Canada), Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA) and President of the World Players Association
- Theo van Seggelen (The Netherlands), Secretary-General of FIFPro and World Players Vice President
- Paulina Tomczyk (Belgium), Secretary-General-elect of the European Elite Athletes Association
“The Declaration fills a glaring gap. In the rule books of world sport there are thousands of pages detailing onerous obligations, but not one that coherently spells out the internationally recognised human rights of the athletes,” said Brendan Schwab. “The result has been the widespread and sometimes tragic violation of the rights of the world’s players. The Declaration makes clear that the rights of players can no longer be ignored and athletes must be able to quickly access justice to ensure their fundamental rights are protected, respected and upheld.”
“Athletes around the world should not have to accept violations to their basic human and labor rights just because of their profession. We should want athletes to be involved and ready to stand for important issues in their community in the same way everyone should want athletes to have the same rights to fairness and safe working conditions of other workers. Unions are the only organizations to make this a reality and we are proud to host our brothers and sisters from across the world for this important meeting,” said DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and Executive Committee member of World Players.
In recent years, the need for the Declaration has become abundantly clear. Scandals have exposed corruption in international sport as well as rampant inequality, discrimination and abuse in professional and development leagues. The Declaration also builds on the more than 50 years of experience of generations of players who have organised through player associations so that they can increasingly access and pursue sport free of discrimination, in keeping with their fundamental human and labour rights and, where needed, have swift and effective access to justice.
The World Players Association brings together 85,000 players across professional sport through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries. Major player associations belonging to World Players include:
- FIFPro, the world football players’ union
- the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA)
- the International Rugby Players’ Association (IRPA)
- the European Elite Athletes’ Association (EU Athletes)
- the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)
- the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA)
- the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA)
- the Japanese Professional Baseball Players Association (JPBPA)
- the Australian Athletes’ Alliance (AAA).
The World Players Association was formally established on 5 December 2014 an autonomous sector of UNI Global Union (UNI), who represents 20 million skills and service workers in 150 countries.
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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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