Sporting Events

In the next two years, the world will experience a mega-sporting event season like no other, with two Olympics, two World Cups, and a host of other competitions that have the potential to either elevate or trample internationally recognized human rights.

Explore our latest research and analysis on the world’s biggest sporting events and the athletes, fans, and communities impacted by them.

Iranian Society Pushes for End to Stadium Ban

Women Have a Right to Attend Sporting Events Iranian authorities once again prevented women and girls from entering a sports stadium. Iran’s football team played Lebanon in a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying match in the city of Mashhad last week. But authorities prevented dozens of women who had reportedly purchased tickets for from entering the stadium. Additionally, […]

Iran: Women Blocked From Entering Stadium

Possible Use of Excessive Force; FIFA Should Enforce Call to End Discriminatory Ban (Beirut) – Iranian authorities prevented dozens of Iranian women from entering Imam Reza football stadium in the city of Mashhad on March 29, 2022, possibly using excessive force, Human Rights Watch said today. FIFA should use its leverage with Iranian authorities to demand that […]

Beijing turned female Olympians into objects of nationalism, while Chinese women suffer

There was something deeply discomfiting about the 2022 Beijing Olympics – and it wasn’t just that the festivities covered up severe human rights abuses, including crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the erasure of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. As I watched how female athletes have been perceived and how their narratives have […]

China: Olympian’s Gold Medal Gesture Sets Example to Governments Everywhere

Olympic champion Nils van der Poel has set an example to world leaders by giving away his Beijing 2022 gold medal in protest at human rights violations in China. The Swedish athlete handed the men’s 10,000m speed skating medal he won at this month’s Games to Angela Gui, whose father Gui Minhai is a bookseller […]

China: Censorship Mars Beijing Olympics

IOC, Sponsors’ Inaction Enables Restrictions on Athletes, Journalists (New York) – Chinese government censorship seriously marred the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which close on February 20, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and corporate sponsors have not spoken out about the government’s human rights record or used their leverage to press for rights […]

Beijing: Letter to IOC President Requests Urgent Human Rights Reform

(Nyon, Switzerland, February 18, 2022) — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) must act now to ensure the human rights catastrophe of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics never happens again, the Sport & Rights Alliance (SRA) said today. In a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, the SRA stated that “the IOC cannot simply return to […]