Human rights must be a key consideration in selecting the hosts of the 2030 World Cup, according to a new survey.
Fifty-three per cent of the 17,477 people from 15 countries who took part in a YouGov poll commissioned by Amnesty International said human rights considerations were vital in choosing the host of the World Cup and other major sporting events, rising to 60 per cent among UK respondents.
Saudi Arabia has been linked with a joint bid alongside Greece and Egypt to host the 2030 or 2034 World Cup, while the Middle Eastern country has already been selected to host the Club World Cup in December.
Representatives of more than 200 national associations will vote on who should host the 2030 finals at a FIFA Congress next year.
FIFA made human rights criteria part of the bidding process for the 2026 tournament, which were awarded to the United States, Canada and Mexico, following the decision by the governing body’s now-defunct executive committee to award the 2018 and 2022 finals to Russia and Qatar respectively back in 2010.
However, organisations such as Amnesty and Kick It Out remain concerned that not enough importance is being attached to human rights in future decision-making processes.
The poll showed that, after safety and security (57 per cent), human rights was the most commonly-chosen consideration for determining tournament hosts.
This was the top consideration in seven of the countries surveyed and highest in Switzerland (68 per cent), where FIFA is based.
More than four times as many people chose human rights as a key factor over “commercial revenues for sports bodies” – just 13 per cent.
Amnesty’s head of economic and social justice Steve Cockburn said: “It is clear that the public wants human rights to be a high priority so that the World Cup is a celebration of the game they love and never provides a platform for exploitation, repression or discrimination.
“FIFA must rigorously apply the highest human rights standards in evaluating all bids to host its flagship tournament, demand clear human rights action plans and reject any bid that fails to credibly show how serious human rights risks would be prevented, independently monitored and remedied if abuses occur.”
Andrea Florence, the director of the Sports and Rights Alliance, added: “Since 2017, FIFA has made important progress in recognising its human rights responsibilities. But human rights assessments and considerations have not been applied systematically when awarding FIFA tournaments.
“To demonstrate they are serious about their own policies and statutes, it is critical that FIFA puts human rights front and centre when choosing the host for the 2030 men’s World Cup.”
FIFA has been approached for comment.