Most mega-events undermine their own honorable ambitions and often youth-centred visions by encapsulating and policing the events – and by putting monetary concerns and financial interests over (young) people’s rights. But what if were to reimagine such events from scratch? What could be different, what should be different? At the “Sport Mega-Events and the Crisis of Youth Exclusion” conference in London, a brainstorming brought out some first ideas.
In no particular order, these were some of the ideas mentioned in the brainstorming.
- remembering and re-negotiating the original ambition of mega-events such as the Olympic Games, away from monetizing publicity events;
- developing a bills of rights for mega-events that covers in particular the rights of marginalized and disadvantaged people;
- devising a mega-event index that allows to capture to which extent the bills of rights is adhered to by any large event;
- creating an international body that monitors mega-events and their compliance with rights and standards and adherence of best practices;
- forbidding security measures to infringe on the civil rights of people, whether permanently or for a limited period of time;
- involving youth prior to making a bid through obligatory and meaningful conversations – not consultations;
- establishing an autonomous youth platform that can gather, accumulate and defend the rights and interests of young people;
- adjusting the scale and approach of events, away from mega-events based on nation states towards transnational and cosmopolitan events;
- exposing the full legal terms of agreements between hosts and organisers, including all financial arrangements;
- disallowing private ownership of new infrastructure, which is often paid for with public money, making sure that stadiums and venues, houses and buildings are publicly owned;
- clarifying which benefits the local hosting communities receive, away from promises and suggestions towards binding agreements and guarantees;
- providing access exclusively to countries that do not violate human rights and that do not have any nuclear bombs;
- choosing participants and contestants not only by their excellence in sport but also by their community engagement;
- retrieving and reviving the notion and idea of amateur sports, honoring the aspirations of millions doing sport for the love of the game;
- accommodating guests in families and local communities rather than in villages that are especially built and then oftentimes forgotten;
- moving the event out and away from stadiums and into real life on streets and in neighbourhoods.