AthletesCAN, founded in 1992, is the only fully independent and most inclusive athlete organization in the country and the first organization of its kind in the world.  In the early 2000s, AthletesCAN began to work with a UK group to build their own association, known today as the British Athletes Commission.  Late 2017, a group of German athletes from the German Olympic Sports Confederation AC organized to build an independent association, to be known as Athletes Germany. 

As the athlete rights movement grows, more of these independent associations are being developed to provide athletes with a voice to represent their interests and a seat at the decision making tables of sport.  This is nothing new to professional sport but a welcomed trend in the high performance athlete community. 

The World Players Association (WPA), the leading voice of organized players in the governance of world sport, brings together 85,000 players across professional sport through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries.  AthletesCAN, now an associate affiliate of the WPA, is one of the only ‘amateur’ athlete associations under its umbrella where athletes are not recognized as employees.  With player association giants such as the NHLPA, NFLPA, FIFPro, NBPA, WNBPA, FICA, IRPA and more leading the WPA’s mission, AthletesCAN continues to leverage the valuable experience and expertise of these organizations in building a better system for our members.

On December 14, 2017, the world's leading player association executives collectively representing more than 85,000 players and athletes announced a Universal Declaration of Player Rights (UDPR) in Washington, D.C. The Declaration addresses the persistent, systemic and long-standing violations of players' fundamental rights in sport throughout the world. It is the first framework ever to explicitly articulate the internationally recognized human rights of athletes globally.  AthletesCAN was there to sign onto the Declaration on behalf of Canada’s national team athletes.

"Sport is among the ecosystems encountering the challenges of today's world, while also having its own unique issues which threaten to undermine its integrity," says Dasha Peregoudova, former AthletesCAN President. "At the same time, sport has the unrivaled ability to set standards for a world where dignity, equality, and excellence rooted in diversity prevail. To continue to do so, it must first and foremost protect and celebrate its main stakeholders, the athletes," she adds. "The rights of athletes need to be recognized in the administration, participation and delivery of sport. AthletesCAN is proud to be part of this extensive collective effort to embed fundamental human rights into the fabric of sport, and we believe the Universal Declaration of Player Rights is a foundational piece necessary in achieving this objective. We commend and support the WPA's work on the UDPR, and look forward to building a stronger athlete-centered sport system in Canada and across the world. We believe this work will not only benefit the athletes, but also their communities, supporters and the sport movement at large."

For more information on the Universal Declaration of Player Rights, click here

Take a look at what some of our professional counterparts are up to:

World Players Association

National Football League Players Association