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The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia: Sponsorship and human rights

11th June 2018

Author - Swedwatch

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia will take place during a severe human rights crisis. Recent reports outline violations of human rights that range from restrictions on fundamental freedoms and crackdowns on human rights defenders, to adverse impacts directly associated with the World Cup. Laborers working on World Cup sites have experienced severe labour rights violations such as unpaid wages and unsafe working conditions. At least 21 workers have allegedly died while working on Russian World Cup sites as of April 2018. 

The worlds of sports and business are closely linked, and a massive sporting event such as the 2018 FIFA World Cup would not be possible in its present form without corporate sponsorship on the national and international level. When a company enters a sponsorship agreement with a national sports association it connects the company’s products and/or services with any championships that the national teams play in. Consequently, these events become part of the company value chain. 

This briefing elaborates on the corporate responsibility in the context of sports sponsorship, by reviewing measures taken by sponsors of the Swedish Football Association (SvFF) to address human rights impacts associated with the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Read the briefing here