Football and Women’s Rights: the Case for Indicators for FIFA’s Feminist Transformation

N. Bernaz, Daniela Heerdt

Research output: Working paperAcademic


In 2015, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) commissioned John Ruggie, the architect of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to help FIFA embed human rights into its practices, taking the UNGPs as ‘authoritative standard’. The outcome was the report For the Game, For the World, published in 2016, and a number of concrete recommendations on how FIFA should implement the UNGPs. Progress has been more limited in relation to women’s rights. In his report, Ruggie speaks of ‘endemic discrimination against women in the world of association football’ and recommends FIFA to ensure that their human rights efforts are mirrored by member associations (MAs) and confederations. Two issues emerge. First, FIFA’s implementation of its human rights responsibilities within the framework of the UNGPs is not sufficient to address women’s human rights risks. Arguably, this is because of weaknesses both in norm-setting and implementation. Second, football-related women’s rights risks seem to be endemic on the level of national football associations. This article draws on the 2019 UNGP gender framework and suggests developing indicators to foster a feminist transformation of FIFA’s policies and practices reaching out to national federations and confederations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameTHE JEAN MONNET PROGRAMJ.H.H. Weiler, Director Gráinne de Burca, Director Jean Monnet Working Paper


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