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20 Aug 2021

El País

Canada, Mexico & USA: Five years before hosting the World Cup, countries develop strategies to mitigate risks and labour rights violations

Wikimedia Commons

“Reforms in sight for Mexico: change the world of labor, change sports”, 16 August 2021

…[A]buses of human and labor rights, an issue that the co-organizers of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) United 2026 World Cup – the United States, Canada and Mexico – hope to prevent…[R]eports unveiled employment systems based on arbitrary quotas between foreign workers and employers, restrictions on physical movement and freedom of association, delayed and unpaid wages and fraudulent legal protection systems for workers, among other criminal practices. There is hope for a 2026 World Cup that seeks to create economic growth and heal historical, social and commercial differences, without mistreating the labor force in the host cities...To mitigate risks and labor rights violations, the organizing teams of Mexico, the US and Canada have launched an ambitious strategy...The strategy employs a comprehensive focus to incorporate civil society actors in the diffusion, planning, monitoring and implementation of measures to prevent and mitigate these risks in the renovation of sports facilities and the value-added chain associated with the World Cup. Its applicability to Mexico, the country with one of the highest incidences of violations of labor rights in the Americas, has become an important issue in the public agenda...FIFA’s commitment can capitalize on the changes to labor legislation enacted in 2019, which contain structural reforms to the Mexican labor system, approved in the context of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), coincidentally between the three organizing countries of the 2026 World Cup...The project Mexico United 2026 seeks to increase worker knowledge of labor legislation relevant to the 2026 World Cup and improve coordination between labor rights organizations, the private sector and unions, while raising awareness among the general public about the commitments of Mexico. In addition, the project works to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations to document and denounce labor abuses through available mechanisms, knowledge and coordination networks, and thus guarantee the availability of transparent and accurate information...