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18 Jun 2024

By Equidem (UK)

Broken Promises: Forced Labour in Saudi Arabia and the Fast Tracked World Cup Bid

…The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to lock hosting the 2034 World Cup in July even though the nation does not meet FIFA requirements for protecting human rights including when it hosted the 2023 Club World Cup, findings from Equidem’s network of investigators revealed today.

“As detailed in this report, and despite persistent engagement with FIFA by Equidem and other rights organisations, the global football governing body is failing to uphold its own standards by entertaining the bid from Saudi Arabia,” said Mustafa Qadri, Equidem’s CEO.

In-depth, confidential, one-to-one interviews with dozens of migrant workers conducted by Equidem documented significant labour and human rights violations, including workplace violence and indicators of forced labour facing migrant workers in the hospitality, maintenance and construction sectors in Saudi Arabia…

Such indicators of forced labour, when taken together, can and do create forced labour conditions for migrant workers…

“FIFA is paving a path of egregious abuses that Equidem is documenting in real time,” Mustafa Qadri, said. “In order to uphold meaningful human rights commitments, FIFA must select tournament host countries where there is demonstrable evidence that the state has the capacity and ability to prevent and remedy human and labour rights violations. This must be done in collaboration with human rights defenders, civil society and — most crucially — migrant workers themselves.”…