“We need to take back the beauty and humanity of sport!”

On 5 December 2014, the world’s most influential athlete and player association leaders met in Cape Town, South Africa, to formally establish the World Players Association as the exclusive global association of organised players and athletes across professional sport.

The group gathered as part of the quadrennial congress of the UNI Global Union (“UNI”), the Swiss based labour organisation that represents more than 20 million workers from over 900 trade unions in the fastest growing sectors in the world – skills and services, including media and sport.

DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association in the United States, addressed the 2,000 congress delegates, and urged UNI affiliates to help athletes reclaim the spirit of sport:

“Our athletes, and the men and women who provide services, deserve to be more than just by-products of a commercial enterprise! We need to be the moral voice in the wilderness - the voice that reclaims what was once ours. We need to take back the beauty and the humanity of sport. There can be no beauty in sport when greed is the biggest winner. We need to move to a world where the integrity of sport does not tolerate migrant workers in Qatar who die building stadiums.”



The voice of the players

The purpose of World Players is to ensure that the players across sports who have common interests get together and play their role so that the key decisions in world sport that affect them are no longer made without their agreement.”

“As a guiding principle, we hold that all players should be free to negotiate the terms upon which they are involved in world sport, and to be represented by persons and organisations of their choice.”

“The players are very concerned about human rights, very concerned about labour rights and recognise that neither means very much without a prompt and effective remedy”

World Players President Don Fehr, Executive Director of the NHLPA

Wednesday 29 March 2017

“The world’s footballers are united with players across sport to ensure the rights of all players are respected and that international sport is governed free of corruption, cheating and the abuse of human rights. We will act across the world with solidarity. Players who are members of a player association in one country or sport can rely on the support of World Players and our affiliated player associations.”

World Players Vice President Theo van Seggelen, the Secretary General of FIFPro, the world football players’ union

Wednesday 29 March 2017