BSR Helps Put Human Rights on Agenda at FIFA World Cup

FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, this week awarded the rights to host the 2026 World Cup to a joint bid by the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

As noted by Human Rights Watch, the 2026 bidding process marked the first time in its history that FIFA required bidding nations to disclose their human rights risks and a plan of action for addressing them.

BSR played a substantive role in helping FIFA officials to assess both bids. FIFA retained BSR to conduct an independent, objective, and thoroughly researched evaluation of the human rights strategies connected with two official bids. (Morocco was the other bidding nation.)

The evaluation reports helped to inform FIFA about each bidder’s understanding of the human rights risks related to hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the proposed strategy to address these risks and hold a competition in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

BSR’s evaluations each contain three primary components:

  1. The quality of each bidder’s assessment of potential risks, including potential adverse human rights impacts connected to the hosting and staging of the competition.
  2. Meaningfulness of each bidder’s engagement with internal and external experts and consultations with potentially affected groups and other stakeholders, as part of the development of its human rights strategy.
  3. Quality of the proposed measures to address, remediate, and prevent any adverse human rights impacts that have been identified, as well as how each bidder intends to provide for or cooperate in appropriate and effective grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities whose human rights may be impacted.

The analysis reflects BSR’s specific expertise in business and human rights matters and knowledge about the local context. It draws on the BSR team’s experience devising human rights strategies for companies and organizations operating in various sectors. 

The findings were based on the information included in the documents submitted by the bidding teams, and BSR provided no recommendation to FIFA regarding bid selection based on this evaluation.