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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(Kazan, Russia) The World Players Association today commended UNESCO for highlighting the essential need to safeguard player rights as a cornerstone of any effective approach to protecting the integrity of sport. Further, World Players called upon global sport to adopt a binding policy to embed the human rights of players.
“Integrity in sport as end can only be arrived at through means which themselves are underpinned by integrity,” World Players Association Executive Director Brendan Schwab told the expert forum on protecting the integrity of sport at the Sixth International Conference of Ministers and Senior Officials Responsible for Physical Education and Sport (MINEPS VI).
“And respect for the internationally recognised human rights of the players, workers, spectators and other groups involved in sport is essential if any effort to protect the integrity of sport is to be legitimate and effective.”
To that effect the World Players Association released a new policy today which seeks to ensure that the fundamental rights of players are protected, respected and guaranteed. The World Player Rights Policy articulates the urgent need for international sporting organisations (ISOs) and other relevant sport stakeholders to adopt a player rights policy and spells out the necessary commitments and obligations which any such policy must contain.
“Professional players are subject to extraordinary and complex regulations which deliberately fall outside the scope of national labour law. In the absence of a legal framework to protect them players are left alone in dealing with the considerable risks of their sporting careers. Therefore, sport must commit to put in place reliable and trustworthy processes which protect and uphold the rights of its fundamental stakeholders”, said Schwab.
The player rights commitments laid out in the World Player Rights Policy are built around sport’s implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The UNGPs are a global standard designed to assist business enterprises to avoid adverse impacts on the rights of others and to address such impacts if they occur. They rest on the three-pillar “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework which requires the adoption of a human rights policy, ongoing due diligence, access to an effective remedy, and transparent reporting.
The commitments and obligations of the World Player Rights Policy provide a similar framework for ISOs enabling them to protect the human rights of the players and to honour core ILO conventions. The failure to respect the fundamental labour rights of players is among a number of risks the new policy identifies as salient which also include the denial to freely access and enjoy sport with equal opportunity. Other identified risks are trafficking, unsafe working conditions, and insufficient data protection.
“Professor John Ruggie’s 2016 report on FIFA convincingly demonstrated how ISOs in their dual role as competition organisers and regulatory bodies should apply the UNGPs to all of their dealing”, added Schwab. “With its recently published Human Rights Policy FIFA has made important progress towards meeting the requirements of the World Player Rights Policy and can make further strides provided its engagement with FIFPro continues to expand.”
The World Players Association is committed to engage with all stakeholders who control sport – ISOs, national sporting organisations, leagues, employers, business and government – to bring the World Player Rights Policy to life and to work in partnership with them to ensure an international sporting environment that is well governed and committed to guaranteeing the fundamental rights of everyone involved in sport, including the players.
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