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23 Jun 2022

Qatar 2022: England FA to focus on "positive legacy" says chair, as GB unions & NGOs call for public backing of migrant workers' centre & remedy fund

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In June 2022, one month after a coalition of NGOs signed a joint letter calling on FIFA to remedy abuse of workers in Qatar ahead of this year's World Cup, a Guardian editorial called on the England FA to "back proposals to safeguard migrant workers' rights after the World Cup in November".

The editorial reports the UK's two largest unions, Unite and Unison, have joined Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to call on the England team to publicly back the proposals:

  1. That a migrant workers' centre be established in Qatar, a country where unionising is illegal. The centre would offer advice, support and representation to migrant workers in Qatar; and,
  2. For FIFA to contribute USD440m (equivalent to the World Cup prize money) to a remedy fund for workers who have suffered abuse while employed in preparations for the tournament.

Two days later, the Guardian reported on a response from the FA's chair, who commented on a positive legacy for the World Cup:

The context of Qatar is not straightforward for many and varied reasons. I’ve been to Qatar three times and I would say that if there’s a positive to come from a World Cup then it is the opportunity to give migrant workers their voice and that’s the way they see it, having sat down and spoken with them. That responsibility comes back to a legacy and there’s a lot of talk before the [tournament] on where we can unite with other federations. I do think that’s important – where it’s united we will stand – to leave a legacy behind that shines a light on the issues, put in place some solutions, and that can overall be a positive thing.
Debbie Hewitt, FA Chair