Transformative Equality, Due Diligence and Female Players’ Rights: CEDAW as an Avenue for Women’s Rights Accountability in the World of Football

This work aims to reflect on the role that CEDAW Committee could play in tackling direct, indirect and structural forms of discrimination suffered by girls and women in football. While recognizing the autonomy of sports associations in the application of their own lex sportiva, the author maintains that the perspective and concrete recommendations provided by this UN human rights treaty body could help to break the chain of gender-role assumptions that explain women and girls discrimination in football. Thus, the purpose of the analysis is twofold. First, the work will examine the applicability of CEDAW Committee’s views on article 5 of the Convention to the football governance realm and the role of States under standards of due diligence in this regard. Secondly, it will support that autonomy of sport shouldn’t imply that female footballers could be prevented from having access to CEDAW Committee seeking concrete recommendations regarding changes in situations of systemic discrimination. While identifying certain obstacles to individual access, the work advocates for a more decisive action of the Committee in this regard. In particular, through General Recommendations and Concluding Observations.