By Nick Butler

Stockholm 2022 would help drive global standards regarding workers rights at sporting events, it is hoped ©AFP/Getty ImagesJanuary 14 - Sweden's Trade Union Confederation (Sweden LO) have hailed an agreement protecting workers rights as part of Stockholm's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics as a way to "show the possibility of a clean and fair Games".

The deal, agreed with the Swedish Olympic Committee (SOK), seeks ethical working standards for everyone who is directly or indirectly involved with the Games.

The agreement will apply to "companies that produce facilities, equipment, clothes and supply services" and is set to guarantee "union organising and collective bargaining rights, non-discrimination and freedom from forced labour and child labour."

It is being billed as an attempt to counter the accusations of worker-exploitation and violations of workers' rights which has clouded preparation for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.

There has been criticism over workers rights ahead of Sochi 2014 as well as the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup ©AFP/Getty ImagesThere has been criticism over workers rights ahead of Sochi 2014 as well as the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup ©AFP/Getty Images

The agreement has occurred following much discussion in Sweden over the use of migrant labour particularly in Qatar, which has also led to meetings between the trade unions and other sports including football.

Swedish LO press secretary Sigrid Bøe described how her organisation will endorse Stockholm's 2022 bid in return for a "number of demands to guarantee workers rights for everyone involved." 

"Everyone in Sweden will be working to Swedish work laws - those working elsewhere won't have to apply by this but they should still have agreements on working hours and security and that is what we are working towards," she told insidethegames.

"Our ambition is to show that it is possible to arrange 'clean and fair' Games. 

"We also hope that if Sweden got a chance to arrange these Games it could set an example for all international sports events."

These sentiments were repeated by the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Sharan Burrow who described how "the contrast between this agreement and the deadly exploitation of migrant workers for Qatar's 2022 World Cup could not be greater,"

"We have written to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach today to call on the IOC to meet at least the Swedish standard for all Olympics. FIFA and other global sporting bodies would do well to follow suit as should all those bidding to host events."

Stockholm has never hosted a Winter Olympics before but did host the 1912 ©Getty ImagesStockholm has never staged a Winter Olympics before but did host the 1912 Summer Olympics ©Getty Images

The announcement comes at an interesting time in the fledgling 2022 race, where Stockholm are taking on rival bids from Almaty, Beijing, Krakow, Lviv and Oslo, despite doubts about both popular and Governmental support. 

Bjorn Folin, a spokesman for the SOK, told insidethegames that he was "not sure if the announcement would be an advantage for Stockholm's 2022 bid," but that it "is a sign that they are taking this important issue seriously and that it is a key part of the bid."

He insisted that they see raising ethical standards could also be a potential legacy of Stockholm 2022. 

"We cannot take Swedish labour laws to places like Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Indonesia, but we can help ensure they have food standards, and we will hopefully bring sponsors on board who will do this as well," he said.

"This is a very important issue in Sweden, where labour laws and trade unions are very strong, but the IOC are looking on this more and more favourably and it is an important issure elsewhere also."

"Everybody who is working for the Olympics should have good conditions - hopefully this agreement will help in changing the situation for future Olympic Games.

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