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Safeguarding In International Sport

Monday, 26 June 2023

Over the last few years, a number of international federations have started to introduce and develop safeguarding policies, regulations and procedures to promote the welfare of participants in their sport and to protect them from harm. Recent headlines have included CAS issuing decisions in high profile abuse/alleged abuse cases in football, and the IOC announcing a USD 10 million fund to strengthen safe sport and the creation of a working group to coordinate the Olympic Movement’s safeguarding efforts. While it is clear that there is obviously a very considerable amount yet to be done, the fact that safeguarding appears to be rising up the agenda is to be welcomed.

It is very important that sports organisations, nationally and internationally, develop a proper understanding of safeguarding in sport - including the history of abuse cases in sport (and the consequent perspectives of athletes and other participants), their role in protecting participants, and the component parts of an effective approach to safeguarding. While regulation is only one of those component parts, it is a very important one – particularly in respect of the response of a sports organisation when an individual has harmed another participant or appears to present a real risk of doing so. Presently, there is no universally recognised approach to the regulation of safeguarding in sport, and it is unfortunately an area that appears to be often misunderstood.

This video, co-hosted with LawInSport, Safe Sport International and Bird & Bird provides a practical insight into the role regulation has to play in international sport, and how it can be done effectively. 

The speakers presented and discussed areas, including:

  • Key safeguarding terminology
  • The aims and importance of safeguarding in sport
  • Policies, codes of conduct, training and guidance
  • The unique nature of safeguarding cases
  • The ‘harm’ offence
  • Suspending participants
  • What might prompt an investigation?
  • Investigation
  • Risk assessment
  • See below for links to the presentations:


  • Anne Tiivas OBE, Chair, Safe Sport International
  • Richard Bush, Partner, Bird & Bird
  • Emma Drake, Legal Director, Bird & Bird
  • Sean Cottrell, Co-Founder & CEO, LawInSport (Moderator)

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