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How Bidders for Major Sporting Events Should Approach ESG Criteria

By April 6, 2022May 7th, 2022Sports events

Wednesday, April 06, 2022 By Matt Evans , Gino Murugesan

At the launch of the ‘We Love 2023 Tour’ in Paris, Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher declared:

France 2023 has adopted a vision: to have a positive impact for rugby, the planet and France by offering a responsible event that meets the challenges of today and tomorrow. The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be more than a sporting event. He will leave a legacy.” (emphasis added)

His bold statement sums up an ever-growing trend in major sporting events (MPE): What positive impact will an MSE have and leave in the host city, country or world? Although heritage and sustainability considerations are nothing new, in recent years there has been a refocusing of the concept around the new trend of ‘ESG‘ – namely environmental, social and governance issues. The MSE organization touches on a plethora of ESG issues, including gender/diversity inclusion, human rights, environmental impact and urban redevelopment.

This article examines the various ways in which these issues are addressed through the implementation of explicit and implicit ESG requirements that have been included in MSE tendering processes. More specifically, it examines:

  1. What are the ESG criteria;
  2. The nature and scope of ESG criteria within the current bid requirements for the Olympic Games and the Football and Rugby World Cups; and
  3. Whether there was significant compliance with the criteria.

Answering these questions will help us understand the changing legacy and sustainability requirements for MSEs; current requirements for any country wishing to host an MSE; and whether the requirements have a lasting impact on ESG issues in the host country.

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Written by

Matt Evans

Matt Evans

Matt Evans is a Partner in the Litigation, Litigation and Arbitration Department at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Matt advises major contractors, utilities and corporations, specializing in construction and engineering, nuclear, utilities, energy and oil and gas. Matt advises on all forms of dispute resolution, including litigation and arbitration. Matt also advises clients on non-contentious matters and has experience in structuring and negotiating construction and development documents.

Gino Murugesan

Gino Murugesan

Gino Murugesan is a trainee solicitor at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.