Mega-Sporting Events

White Paper 4.2 Athletes’ Rights and Mega-Sporting Events

31 January 2017

This White Paper maps the conduct of mega-sporting events (MSEs) and their impact on athletes by reference to international human rights standards.

Athletes are the public face of MSEs. Athletic performances are essential to the prestige, popularity and viability of MSEs and, in turn, the sporting and business undertakings of International Sporting Organisations such as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and international sporting federations (ISOs). This white paper considers the position of athletes who are among the key groups affected by MSEs.

The work of professional athletes is, by its nature, highly skilled and valuable, yet risky and precarious. As a condition of that work, athletes are subject to regulations that are extraordinary and far-reaching in their complexity and subject matter. The athlete, therefore, is at the centre of the intersection between sport and human rights.


This White Paper is one of 11 papers published in January 2017 as part of the Sporting Chance White Paper series. The series aims to present the latest thinking, practice, and debate in relation to key human rights issues involved in the planning, construction, delivery, and legacy of mega-sporting events (MSEs). Each paper also considers the case for, and potential role of, an independent centre of expertise on MSEs and human rights. Each White Paper has been published as “Version 1” and the MSE Platform would welcome comments, input, and expressions of support with regard to future iterations or research on this and other topics.

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