The World Players Association, in collaboration with The Army of Survivors and the Sport & Right Alliance, has launched a guide for establishing safe sport entities to tackle abuse in sports. The guide, called “Establishing Effective Safe Sport Entities”, provides key principles and essential functions to ensure safe sport organisations can prevent, investigate, and respond to abuse while protecting the safety, dignity, and voice of impacted athletes.
The guide outlines six key principles that must be incorporated into the development and operations of a safe sport entity: Human Rights-Based, Survivor-Centred, Independency & Accountability, Safety & Accessibility, Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement, and Effective Remedy. Additionally, it details five key responsibilities for these entities: Support, Reporting, Investigation, Remedy, and Prevention.
The guidance is based on experiences and expertise in trauma and abuse and aims to rebuild athlete trust and promote necessary systemic change to support survivors of abuse. According to the World Players Association Executive Director Brendan Schwab, abuse in sports is widespread and destroying the lives of athletes worldwide, and a new mechanism must be put in place to handle these situations.
FIFPRO Vice President Camila Garcia says this guidance, based on the experiences of survivors, is a step towards building institutions that are more responsive to athletes’ needs. According to FIFPRO General Secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffman, it is everyone’s duty to develop effective, victim-centred solutions to prevent and address abuse in sports.
In Malaysia, sport has been an integral part of the cultural fabric and it is imperative to address the issue of abuse in sports to ensure the safety, dignity, and well-being of athletes. The recent and ongoing revelations of abuse in sports have sparked concerns and highlighted the need for effective measures to be taken to tackle this issue. The new guidance on Establishing Effective Safe Sport Entities provides an opportunity for the Malaysian sports bodies, government, player associations, civil society organisations, and other stakeholders to take proactive steps to prevent and respond to abuse in sports.
Football, being the most popular sport in Malaysia, can take the lead in implementing the principles outlined in the guide and ensure that its safe sport entities are human rights-based, survivor-centred, independent and accountable, safe and accessible, engage in meaningful stakeholder engagement and provide effective remedy.
Football Association of Malaysia, for instance, can establish a reporting mechanism for abuse, conduct independent investigations, provide support and remedy for survivors, and implement preventive measures to reduce the incidence of abuse in football. It is also important for the association to engage with stakeholders, including players and fans, to promote a culture of safety, accountability, and transparency in the sport.
In conclusion, the guidance on Establishing Effective Safe Sport Entities provides a blueprint for Malaysian sports, especially football, to take proactive steps to address the issue of abuse in sports and ensure a safe and secure environment for athletes to pursue their passion.