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PACE hearing hears testimony of abuse in sport and pledges to do more to keep players and athletes safe

Patrice Evra

A PACE hearing on “violence in sport and safeguarding” at the Houses of Parliament in London has heard powerful personal testimony from survivors of abuse in sport, as well as the steps being taken by top sports governing bodies to ensure a safe environment for players and athletes – and their pledges to do more.

The hearing, organised by PACE’s Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media and hosted by the UK Parliament, forms part of a report on protecting human rights in and through sport being prepared by Kim Valentin (Denmark, ALDE) for debate by the Assembly.

The hearing was divided into two sessions, the first on understanding violence in sport, moderated by Irish Ombudsman Commissioner Emily Logan, and the second on addressing it, moderated by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (United Kingdom, SOC). Participants included:

Patrice Evra, a former captain of the Manchester United and the French national football teams, as well as an abuse survivor and campaigner;

Olivia Jasriel, former South African international tennis player and founder of the Jasriel Foundation, a South African NGO focused on protecting athletes against child abuse;

Simon Mason, Head of Sport Strategy at the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport;

Alasdair Bell, Deputy Secretary General of FIFA, and Joyce Cook, Senior Advisor to the FIFA President dealing with the creation of a Safe Sport Entity;

Kit McConnell, Sports Director of the international Olympic Committee (IOC), and Kirsty Burrows, Senior Manager of the IOC’s Safe Sport Unit;

Ashley Ehlert, Deputy Secretary General and Legal Director of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF);

Alexandre Husting, Chair of the Governing Board of the Council of Europe’s Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS);

Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Chair of ECPAT, a global NGO network working to end the sexual exploitation of children.