Private security companies provide a range of services at many of the world’s biggest sports tournaments. Whether providing stewards for stadiums, safeguarding the hotels where players and spectators are accommodated, or providing bodyguards for the sports stars themselves, private security providers are the unsung heroes that help secure the world’s biggest sporting stages. So how are the private security companies providing these services chosen and what factors influence the procurement process? Once providers are chosen, how can clients be confident human rights and international labour standards are being respected? Whether it’s related to the recruitment, training or treatment of security personnel, how can tournament hosts, teams and sponsors be assured their brands and reputations won’t be on the line?
The Centre for Sport & Human Rights and the International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA) kicked-off a discussion about how it takes a team to understand and manage the human rights risks at play in ensuring the contracting of responsible private security providers. We considered the cases of the FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the Commonwealth Games. We asked how the organisers of these events can best be assured human rights are respected throughout the tournament’s security supply chain. Reflecting on the role of stakeholder engagement, we also asked about long-term sustainability beyond the events themselves. We provided concrete tools for those procuring the services of private security providers to guide them in conducting rigorous human rights due diligence and influencing strategies to help persuade decision-makers of the need to select top performing companies, worthy of securing the stage for the world’s top performing athletes.
Jamie Williamson, Executive Director, ICoCA
David Grevemberg, Chief Innovation and Partnerships Officer, Centre for Sports & Human Rights
Mahmoud Qutub, Executive Director, Workers’ Welfare, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and Advisor to the Chairperson, Workers’ Welfare & Labour Rights, FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 LLC
Eddy Stam, Head of Property Services Department, Uni Global Union
Nuala Walsh, Founder & CEO, MindEquity