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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance

The Promise of a Positive Legacy

The FIFA World Cup 2026 Host City Candidates’ Human Rights Plans

Clifford Chance and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights

We are pleased to present The Promise of a Positive Legacy: The FIFA World Cup 2026 Host City Candidates’ Human Rights Plans as a resource for stakeholder engagement and discussion.

Twenty-two cities across North America are competing to serve as hosts for the 2026 World Cup. For the first time, FIFA is considering human rights plans as part of the host city selection criteria. Each city has published its plan, which will drive a positive human rights legacy and mitigate any negative human rights impacts of hosting this major sporting event.

The report examines the human rights themes that FIFA outlined, takes a closer look at each city plan, and collects highlights from the plans for accessibility to stakeholders. The report draws attention to the legacy opportunities that the cities envision pursuing as 2026 World Cup hosts. We also pose some important questions for host cities and broader stakeholders to consider. We hope the report presents opportunities for stakeholders to share ideas to work together to implement their proposals and advance human rights in their local context.

Putting human rights center stage will be seen as a game-changing development for the 2026 World Cup as the plans come to fruition. The bar is being set high for the sustainable future of mega-sporting events.

The Promise of a Positive Legacy

This report draws attention to the human rights strategies developed by all 22 cities across the United Bid, recognizing the important work done by a wide range of contributors and the key commitments and undertakings of the cities. The city submissions, which are publicly available, are voluminous, and this report aims to present the information in ways that will increase the accessibility of the material to a wide variety of stakeholders.

Download report

Insights from the team

Collaborating with the Centre for Sport & Human Rights

A Clifford Chance team worked across three time zones over three months to produce a joint report with our pro bono client Centre for Sport and Human Rights on the human rights strategies of cities bidding to host the United26 FIFA World Cup. What was it like to collaborate with the Centre? We asked some team members - David Alfrey, Natalie Hoehl, Shannon O'Brien, Gina Crosby, Kimberly Shi, Steve Nickelsburg - to share their experience.

Mary Harvey

Centre for Sport and Human Rights

How do athletes understand the human rights challenges in countries where they compete?

Chief Executive of the Centre for Sport and Human Rights and former Olympian and FIFA champion Mary Harvey discusses the athlete perspective on human rights and sports, and how it's changing today.

Minky Worden

Human Rights Watch

"This report has the potential to move the ball for human rights at the World Cup in 2026."

We caught up with Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch, at the launch event for our joint report with CSHR on the human rights strategies of cities bidding to host the United26 FIFA World Cup.

Key takeaways from the report

We collaborated with our pro bono client the Centre for Sport and Human Rights to develop a report that provides an independent perspective on the human rights plans of the cities vying to host the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup.

Watch the video for some key takeaways.

David Grevemberg CBE

Centre for Sport & Human Rights

"This report establishes not only a benchmark, but a call to action." 

Chief Innovation and Partnerships Officer of CSHR David Grevemberg CBE discusses how the report will drive change.

Paul Lalli

The Coca-Cola Company

What should businesses be considering before partnering with sport bodies on major events? Paul Lalli, Global Head of Human Rights at The Coca-Cola Company, shares his thoughts.

Steve Nickelsburg

Clifford Chance

What kind of #HumanRights strategies have potential host cities of the 2026 FIFA Men's World Cup created in response to FIFA's new selection criteria? Partner Steve Nickelsburg explains the cities' plans for access to justice in connection with the mega sporting event.