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20 Jul 2020

Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail (UK)

Football urged to find its voice on the exploitation of migrant workers preparing Qatar for the 2022 World Cup

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"Football is saying nothing as racism and the exploitation of migrant workers thrives at the home of the 2022 World Cup... do black lives not matter in Qatar?"

In a recent statement about the Black Lives Matter campaign, the Premier Leagueunderlined their stance by saying: ‘We wholly agree with the players’ single objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.’ In the week that match dates for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar were revealed, you wonder how these two things sit side by side.Last week, we heard from the United Nations on racism and the exploitation of migrant workers in the Gulf state. The language contained in a report was stark, saying: ‘European, North American, Australian and Arab nationalities systematically enjoy greater human rights protections than South Asian and sub-Saharan African nationalities.’ The majority of the tens of thousands of immigrant workers employed to build stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup are from south Asia and west Africa. The UN report claims their working conditions remain largely unacceptable. Some have already died. But still football says nothing...It doesn’t ask the relevant questions about what would appear to be clear human rights violations of workers trapped in an established system of exploitation and abuse. It doesn’t attempt to apply pressure for change....We know it is too late to change the fundamentals. The World Cup will take place in Qatar. But football can speak up. It can try to bring about change, if it is brave enough.