Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights

Notice to the Press
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
October 11, 2016

The U.S. Department of State, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Institute for Human Rights and Business will co-host the global “Sporting Chance Forum on Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights,” October 13 and 14, in Washington, D.C.

Sport has a unique capacity to inspire humanity, and mega-sporting events have great potential to positively impact the lives of people in the countries that host them. But such large-scale events also involve significant risks to human rights and labor rights. After years of rising public concern in the arena of major global sports tournaments, new collaborative efforts are needed.

With this in mind, the Forum will convene more than 120 senior officials, executives, and experts to highlight and devise effective strategies to address the human rights challenges associated with mega-sporting events at every stage of the event lifecycle, from planning through legacy. Throughout the two-day event, participants will take stock of efforts to promote learning and capacity building of the actors involved, and explore ways to develop more comprehensive, consistent, and inclusive approaches to managing them.

The Opening Session of the Forum will be open press, and will introduce the Sporting Chance Forum Principleson Respect for Human Rights in Mega-Sporting Events. These Principles—put forward by the Forum co-organizers—aim to underpin the common goal of ensuring that mega-sporting events showcasing the best in humanity are built on respect for human rights throughout their lifecycle.

Ms. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, will serve as the honorary chair of the Forum. The Opening Session will feature presentations from Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Virginia Bennett, Swiss Deputy State Secretary Alexandre Fasel, International Labor Organization Deputy Director-General Greg Vines, International Olympic Committee Member Anita DeFrantz, Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive David Grevemberg, and UNI World Athletes President Don Fehr. Key Forum participants ‎and stakeholders will be available for follow-on interviews after the Opening Session.

The Forum will be opened by Martina Navratilova, legendary Czech-American tennis champion, coach, and advocate for LGBTI and women’s rights.

The remaining sessions of the Forum will be closed press, and limited to meeting participants only.

The Opening Session will be live-streamed on

This event is open to the press. Pre-set time for cameras is 8:15 a.m. from the 21st Street entrance. Final access time for writers and stills is 8:40 a.m. from the 21st Street entrance.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued photo media credential (e.g., Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), or (2) an official photo identification card issued by their news organization, or (3) a letter from their employer on official letterhead verifying their current employment as a journalist. Additionally, they must present an official government photo identification card (i.e., U.S. driver's license or passport).

For further information, please contact Claudette Laprise at