Amnesty International is calling on FIFA to compensate the workers

Two months before the opening of the World Cup in Qatar (from November 20 to December 18), Amnesty International did not relax its mark on FIFA. In a survey conducted in 15 countries (in Europe, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Morocco and Kenya) on behalf of the non-governmental organization (NGO) and published on Thursday 15 September, a clear majority of the respondents (73%) said they were in favor of creating a compensation fund in the International Football Federation, “workers who suffered during the preparation for the tournament”. A proportion that rose to 84% of those surveyed who said they would watch at least one match in the competition.

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“The results of this poll are a clear message to football leaders (…) FIFA still has time to do the right thingcommented in a press release Steve Cockburn, head of the social and economic justice program at Amnesty. Fans don’t want a dirty World Cup (…) through human rights violations. »

The gas-rich emirate has often been criticized by NGOs for the treatment provided for hundreds of thousands of workers from Asia, especially in major construction sites linked to the World Cup. About 6,500 workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died during the construction of stadiums, roads and hotels etc., according to a British daily investigation. Guardian published in February 2021.

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Doha and world football’s governing body insisted, for their part, on the progress made. In a statement sent to Agence France-Presse, FIFA “look” this survey and insisted on “The steps taken in recent years by [elle] and its partners in Qatar to protect workers”. “Workers are compensated in various forms when companies fail to meet welfare standards” of the supreme organizing committee of the 2022 World Cup, ensures the governing body of world football.

In an interview every week Point which was published on Wednesday evening, the Emir of Qatar admitted that there was “a problem at work on construction sites” and claimed to have been taken “solid steps in record time”. “We have changed the law and we have punished anyone who mistreats an employee; we open our doors to NGOs and we cooperate with them. We are proud of it”says Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani.

More and more voices were raised

The poll commissioned by Amnesty International echoes a call launched in May by a coalition of human rights organisations, fan groups and trade unions – the #PayUpFIFA campaign – to demand FIFA pay more less than 440 million dollars (almost the same amount in euros. ) to the workers who work at the various construction sites of the World Cup. According to the same coalition, FIFA could reap up to 6 billion dollars in revenue from the competition.

Workers at the construction site in May 2022 in Doha.

Conducted among more than 17,000 adults, the opinion poll published on Thursday also shows that more than two-thirds of respondents (73% in France) want national football federations “speaking publicly about human rights cases” as part of the 2022 World Cup. So far, the French Football Federation (FFF) has always refused to comment on this controversial issue. Noël Le Graet, the president of “3F”, said himself “Very happy that we are coming to play in Qatar” during the tournament draw, at 1er April in Doha.

In recent weeks, many voices have been raised against the organization of the World Cup in Qatar. In France, after actor Vincent Lindonformer football player Eric Cantona said on Wednesday September 14, in a social media postthat he would not watch any of the tournament matches, preferring instead “change all stages of Colombo”. The other day, the newspaper The Daily Reunion decided, “in the name of its values”to boycott the competition, and became the first French media to take that stand.

Abroad, the mobilization is also not weak. The Norwegian Football Federation organized a debate in June 2021 about a possible boycott – ultimately rejected by an internal vote – of the tournament in Qatar. The president of the Norwegian Federation also quickly recalled, a few months ago, during a FIFA congress, the emirate’s sprains in terms of human rights.

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And last month, it was the chairman of Germany’s Euro 2024 organizing committee, former Mannschaft player Philipp Lahm, who announced in August that he would not travel to the emirate, arguing that “human rights [devaient] play a big role in providing a tournament”.

Amnesty International is not calling for a boycott of the 2022 World Cup. But the NGO published, on September 12, through its French branch, a documentary, The Exploitation of Qatarrestraint “unworthy working and living conditions” migrant workers at various World Cup sites.

The World with AFP

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