A black woman and white woman holding hands protesting in the city

Addressing inequality, enhancing diversity and facilitating greater dialogue in the hosting of sporting mega events (EventRights)

Funder

European Commission
H2020 Marie Curie Research Innovation and Staff Exchange (RISE)

Total value of project

€772,800

Value to Coventry University

€211,600

Project team

Dr Ian Brittain

EventRights logo

Beneficiaries

Technical University of Munich, Germany; University of the Peloponesse, Greece; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; University of the West of Scotland, UK

Partners

Fundacion Getulio Vargas, Brazil; Western University, Canada; Meiji University, Japan; Waseda University, Japan; George Mason University, USA; North Carolina State University, USA

Duration of project

01/01/2018 - 31/12/2022


Project overview

Major sporting events (MSEs) have been the subject of increasing levels of critique in recent years for the social costs associated with their bidding, planning and delivery. The rationale used by cities and countries for hosting MSEs is often the potential for an event to generate positive economic and social transformation within the host area (Brittain, Bocarro, Byers and Swart, 2017).

However, research has repeatedly demonstrated actual impacts of hosting MSEs fall short of these lofty claims and in reality often result in detrimental effects for host populations. The negative impacts of MSEs have variously been reported as: exacerbating human rights abuses; facilitating corruption; supporting elite beneficiaries over those most in need; and transforming host destinations’ urban environment by displacing vulnerable populations.

Recent mega sport events (a specific category of the largest MSEs, such as the Olympic Games and World Cup; Muller, 2015) have been the subject of international condemnation for being the catalyst for forced evictions (Beijing 2008; Rio de Janeiro, 2016), restricting media freedom through censorship (Sochi, 2014), abuse of migrant labour in the construction of facilities (Sochi, 2014; Qatar, 2022) and increased political repression (Beijing, 2008).

Human Rights Watch has suggested that “Time after time, Olympic hosts have gotten away with abusing workers building stadiums, and with crushing critics and media who try to report about abuses…the right to host the Olympics needs to come with the responsibility not to abuse basic human rights” (Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives, HRW).

The EventRights project will explore and produce recommendations as to how MSEs can influence MSE organizing committees and other stakeholders to ensure that progressive social opportunities to address inequality, enhance diversity. Based on gaps in the current body of knowledge (e.g. Misener et al., 2015) that have prevented a rich understanding of how processes within the bidding, planning and delivery of MSEs can improve social outcomes and taking into consideration the policy and practice priorities of the EU.

Project objectives

A primary objective of EventRights is to provide an environment for academic and non-academic partners to access learning and training opportunities and to develop their knowledge of the subject and methodologies relating to MSEs through staff exchange.

With our research, we extend previous evidence provided in the scientific literature, practice, and public policy in three ways: (1) we refer to the different stages that determine social outcomes of MSEs; (2) we study the peculiarities of the different stakeholders that are involved into MSE management from an interdisciplinary perspective, providing insights into the different facets of the concept; and (3) we build up sustainable platforms for learning and knowledge sharing across European countries. The EventRights project seeks to make a substantial impact in three main areas:

  • Advance expertise of a rights-based agenda in connection with MSEs, their measurement and viability.
  • Establish a strong and enduring global network between academics and other stakeholders with an interest in a rights-based agenda and MSEs in order to enhance knowledge transfer and understanding.
  • Strengthen the career prospects for researchers and non-academic stakeholders in the field.

The intention is to adopt a wide variety of dissemination formats and methods ensuring that information is provided in both academic and non-academic language in order to ensure its accessibility to as wide an audience as possible. Dissemination to academic peers will occur through a wide range of outputs including journal articles, conference presentations, online (e.g. blogging, twitter, researchgate, in-house online open access publications).

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