The connection between sports and human rights are more visible than ever before, from athlete activism in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, to the media attention surrounding labour rights and the Qatar World Cup 2022. These examples demonstrate how sports, particularly football, can promote discourse around human rights whilst having an adverse impact on rights holders. Furthermore, the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2020 Report notes that “within Europe’s soccer industry alone, it is estimated there are 15,000 human trafficking victims each year”. Off the pitch, an elite sports club’s supply chain is like that of many other large businesses, complex and global, with a range of potential impacts on human rights. It is therefore imperative that clubs take a proactive, transparent approach to addressing risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 provides an opportunity for sports organisations to demonstrate their efforts in this regard.
Ardea International works with Premier League football clubs to strengthen their human rights due diligence and convened a series of virtual roundtables featuring representatives from clubs in the Premier League and Europe to discuss how clubs can demonstrate their respect for human rights and environmental due diligence and improve compliance with legislation.
In order to assess the approach premier league club’s are taking to comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act, Ardea carried out a benchmark of the 2021-2022 Premier League football clubs’ modern slavery statements. The report is Ardea’s second annual assessment of transparency statements by the clubs.
The rankings were determined based on the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, and 26 good practice indicators from the Modern Slavery reporting benchmark guides published by the Global Governance Research Fund (GGRF) and is based on published information. Ardea uses these indicators to assess client’s modern slavery statements, including Brighton and Hove Albion FC , with whom Ardea have worked with to develop a best practice statement. We have declared this relationaship in the benchmark. The benchmark was made available to all the clubs and they were invited to a Q&A session to discuss any questions and to explain the indicators.
Under the Modern Slavery Act 2015, an organisation’s slavery and human trafficking statement should include information about:
- the organisation’s structure, its business and its supply chains;
- its policies in relation to slavery and human trafficking;
- its due diligence processes in relation to slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains;
- the parts of its business and supply chains where there is a risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place, and the steps it has taken to assess and manage that risk;
- its effectiveness in ensuring that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in its business or supply chains, measured against such performance indicators as it considers appropriate;
- the training about slavery and human trafficking available to its staff.
The 20 clubs were put into three tiers (leaders, learners and laggards). The benchmark also recorded whether companies had met the minimum legal requirements. Overall, the benchmark demonstrates that many of the clubs fall short of the minimum legal compliance requirements of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and there is a broad range of scores based on the best practice indicators assessed.
We will be looking to host a roundtable early next year to invite clubs to discuss the indicators and their performance before publishing the next benchmark
Download the 2021-22 Premier League Club Modern Slavery Statement Benchmark below to find out how each club performed.
Ardea International has also established an academy to support organisations meet their human rights due diligence and modern slavery requirements. Our online training programme for modern slavery and sport and e-learning is also available at www.ardeainternational. If you would like to know more, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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