A world-wide network of athletes’ unions has published research aimed at better protecting youth in sports following sexual abuse scandals in gymnastics and football
Geneva – A world-wide network of athletes’ associations aims to better protect youth in sports following sexual abuse scandals in gymnastics and football, the research published on Tuesday.
Nearly 300 international athletes, including some Olympians, shared their experiences of abuse and mistreatment of minors for the Census of Athlete Rights Experience Report.
The document, which details how the government and sports bodies can help protect children, was presented at an online conference organized by the World Players Association and the National Basketball Teams Association.
“We want real change and we want to stop the cycle of abuse,” said Andrea Florence, the project coordinator for Switzerland’s World Players.
The research was a two-year project with the University of Loughborough, England.
Former US gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced for decades in prison on charges of multiple sexual offenses involving athletes and children.
“The US gymnastics case has been a catalyst for change and for survivors around the world,” Florence told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
A bullying culture in gymnastics has recently been investigated in countries including Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
In English football, decades of systematic abuse of boys in youth teams involving professional clubs were detailed by survivors in media interviews beginning in 2016.
The World Players Report urges governments and sports bodies to enforce laws and establish procedures that safely provide access to justice, amnesty and compensation to survivors of abuse.
“Abuse survivors did not risk reporting if the correct systems and safety mechanisms were not in place,” Florence said. “We look forward to working with the sports governing bodies, including the IOC and FIFA, to meet the recommendations set out in the CARE report and to ensure that athletes are able to play the sport safely – from the playground To the podium. “
The IOC will soon launch an international curriculum to educate security officers in sports bodies. The governing body of football runs a child protection program called the FIFA Guardian.
Tuesday’s conference aims to help athlete unions better represent child athletes.
World Player Executive Director Brendan Schwab said that this is an important gap that we are determined to fill.
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