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FIFA statement re Guardian investigation into deaths among migrant workers in Qatar since 2010

FIFA, together with its local partners responsible for the preparation and delivery of the FIFA World Cup 2022, is fully committed to safeguarding the rights of workers contributing to the hosting of FIFA events. Since 2011, FIFA has been actively engaging with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) and key stakeholders such as the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) with the aim of enhancing the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms regarding labour rights on FIFA World Cup sites. FIFA and the SC not only work to protect construction workers on FIFA World Cup sites but are expanding the systems to cover other workers who become involved in the tournament preparation, such as in the hotel, transportation, logistics or security industries.

Sadly, since construction began in 2014, the SC has recorded three work-related fatalities on FIFA World Cup sites and 34 non-work-related deaths among FIFA World Cup workers. FIFA and the SC have always maintained transparency around these fatalities with the SC investigating each work-related incident to ensure lessons were learned by the respective companies and with respect to the SC’s oversight mechanisms. With the very stringent health and safety measures on site enforced by the SC, the frequency of accidents on FIFA World Cup construction sites has been low when compared to other major construction projects around the world.

At the same time, it remains a challenge to fully safeguard workers from health hazards that may not be directly associated with their work on site. Amongst the far-reaching measures the SC is taking in that respect are comprehensive medical exams conducted on all SC workers, enabling the systematic identification of pre-existing conditions and the development of individual health plans, as well as the assessment and improvement of workers’ diets through collaborations with specialised partners. Furthermore, the SC implements and continuously enhances its heat stress mitigation plans, the effectiveness of which has been assessed and demonstrated through a joint study with the ILO and the Ministry of Labour. In addition, the SC has been strengthening the emergency medical response processes, including through an enhanced training programme for medical professionals in accommodations or the introduction of a centralized electronic medical-records management system.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 has already now contributed significantly to the transformation of the labour rights situation in Qatar with important legal changes being implemented by the Qatari authorities and the widely-recognised systems implemented by the SC with respect to construction workers on FIFA World Cup sites.