Making Sport Safe for Child Athletes

One of our primary focus areas at the Sport & Rights Alliance is child athlete protection. Through the research and advocacy of SRA partners, we work to end the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse of child athletes, increase access to effective remedy for survivors and impacted people, and ensure child rights are respected and protected throughout global sport.


Athlete Survivors Network

In 2022, the Alliance coordinated a needs assessment to explore the need for a global network of athletes and whistleblowers who have experienced abuse in sport. Inspired by anti-oppressive and intersectional trauma-informed principles, the study centered on focus groups with impacted athletes, advocates and whistleblowers (40% of whom were from the Global South), and took a harm reduction and ethics of care approach, prioritizing participants’ safety, wellbeing, and autonomy. The research revealed overwhelming support for a network to connect survivors, share learnings, and empower collective advocacy.

CARE Report

In 2021, World Players Association published the 2021 CARE Report (Census of Athlete Rights Experiences), the first global study to look at elite athletes’ experiences to understand whether and how their rights are protected as children in sport. During the months of December 2019 – June 2020 an online questionnaire was shared with 297 current and former professional athletes affiliated with World Players in order to understand their childhood experiences in organized sport, in addition to 13 in-depth individual interviews.


Learn more about our previous campaigns to protect child athletes and hold perpetrators accountable, in sports and countries across the globe.

Safe Sport Entity Guidelines

Developed with World Players and The Army of Survivors, Establishing Effective Safe Sport Entities provides sports bodies, governments, player associations and civil society organizations with a clear benchmark to ensure safe sport entities are able to prevent and respond to abuse in a manner that protects the safety, humanity, dignity and voice of impacted athletes.

SAFE to Talk

In 2021, World Players Association and The Army of Survivors led a campaign to educate players on their rights and how to speak up safely. This video builds on the 2021 CARE Report and the Ready to Respond Guide, which equip player associations to support athletes who want to disclose abuse or harassment.


In 2021, Human Rights Watch reported a pattern of sexual abuse and harassment on on Mali’s under-18 national women’s basketball team, perpetrated by head coach Amadou Bamba, going as far back as 2016. The Sport & Rights Alliance helped and continues to help coordinate an ongoing campaign to demand adequate remedy, support and protection for survivors and accountability from FIBA.

Two young girls practice martial arts.


In 2020, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing widespread abuse of child athletes in Japan. In 2021, we supported the #AthletesAgainstAbuse campaign to establish a Safe Sport center in Japan in advance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.


In May 2020, Human Rights Watch reported on widespread sexual coercion and abuse of young Haitian football players by federation president Yves Jean-Bart. We supported a campaign to ask FIFA to suspend Jean-Bart and other officials and conduct a survivor-centred and trauma-informed investigation. Jean-Bart received a lifetime ban from FIFA, which was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February 2023. The Sport & Rights Alliance remains engaged as it waits for word on whether FIFA will appeal.


Twenty members of the Afghan women’s national football team came forward with allegations of sexual assault, harassment, and retaliation by the federation’s president and other officials. In 2018, we coordinated a public campaign resulting in the lifetime ban of Afghanistan Football Federation’s president Keramuudin Karim from all football-related activity. Our work on this case has also triggered change in FIFA’s policies on witness protection and survivor-centred investigations.


If you or someone you know has experienced abuse in sport, Project CARE has compiled a list of local resources and service providers from around the world whom you can contact for support. If you are a coach, parent, or player association, you may also be interested in the Ready to Respond Handbook, which provides practical guidance for supporting players who have experienced abuse and trauma.