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FIFA criticised for ‘inadequate’ response to Qatar’s alleged violation of human rights

FIFA president Sepp Blatter

‘Four thousand workers will die before the start of the World Cup 2022’, says ITUC.

October 6, 2013 6:12 by

FIFA has, once again, been criticised by human rights organisations for its ‘weak’ and ‘inadequate’ response to the alleged mistreatment of thousands of migrant workers in Qatar, ahead of the World Cup 2022.

Sepp Blatter, president of FIFA, says that while a “courtesy” visit to Qatar to meet with the Emir to discuss both the World Cup and working conditions is planned, FIFA will ultimately be unable to directly intervene or change the conditions of migrant construction workers.

“The workers’ rights will be the responsibility of Qatar and its companies, of which many are European. It is not FIFA’s primary responsibility, but we cannot turn a blind eye. Yet, it is not a direct intervention from FIFA that can change things,” he says.

Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that FIFA’s offer of only a courtesy visit is “totally inadequate” and fails to put in place any plan to stop more workers dying.

Burrow says that FIFA needs to send a very strong and clear message to Qatar that it will not allow the World Cup to be “delivered on the back of a system of modern slavery”.

“The settlement of this global dispute is dependent on actions by FIFA and the political will of the Qatari authorities, which are still absent. FIFA’s offer is an insult to bereaved families,” she says, adding that people should not have to “pay with their lives for the World Cup to be a sporting and commercial success”.

The ITUC estimates that, if no action is taken, 4,000 workers will die in Qatar before the start of the World Cup in 2022.

Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), the global union federation representing construction workers, is sending an investigation mission to Qatar on October 7.

In other news, FIFA’s executive committee recently met in Zurich to discuss the moving of the 2022 World Cup to the winter – a decision which will only be made after the end of next year’s tournament in Brazil.

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