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20 May 2022

Qatar 2022: NGOs & football groups call on FIFA to establish comprehensive programme to remedy all labour abuses suffered in preparation for World Cup

fifg, Shutterstock (purchased)

A civil society coalition including Amnesty International, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Building and Woodworkers’ International, Equidem, FairSquare, Human Rights Watch (HRW) & Migrant-Rights.org has penned an open letter to FIFA CEO Gianni Infantino calling for FIFA to contribute to a remedy fund for migrant workers who have suffered abuse in preparation for the World Cup.

Citing the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, the letter outlines FIFA’s responsibility to respect human rights across Qatar and beyond the worker welfare standards applied to select groups of workers associated with the delivery of the tournament. Workers involved in other projects since the tournament was awarded in 2010 are also likely to have suffered labour abuse that has gone unremedied and linked to the hosting of the World Cup.

The signatories call on FIFA to:

  • Commit to establishing with Qatar a comprehensive remediation programme to address abuses suffered by migrant workers in the preparation and delivery of the 2022 World Cup that remain outstanding;
  • Set aside no less than US$440 million to fund remedy of such abuses, with the harms to be redressed and reparation measures to be offered being decided through a participatory process and subject to an independent evaluation; and,
  • Enhance and strictly implement its human rights criteria for future events and strengthen its human rights due diligence processes.

FIFA responded to Amnesty International by sharing the measures it has taken to protect workers’ rights, and stated it has “taken note of and are assessing the proposition” to set up a remediation programme. It also highlighted work being done with Qatari organisers to remediate USD22.6m in recruitment fees paid by workers by the end of 2021.

On the same day, HRW launched the #PayUpFIFA campaign, which was later reportedly endorsed by ex-Finnish captain Tim Sparv. Amnesty Intl. UK has called on the English FA and team to support the call.

The letter is signed by others including Football Supporters Europe and Independent Supporters Council | North America (ISC). It remains open for other organisations to sign. This page will be updated with coverage of signatories and others’ actions to support the call for remedy.

By turning a blind eye to foreseeable human rights abuses and failing to stop them, FIFA indisputably contributed to the widespread abuse of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects in Qatar, far beyond the stadiums and official hotels...by FIFA’s own rulebook...FIFA have obligations and responsibilities respectively to prevent human rights abuses and provide remedy to victims.
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General
FIFA welcomes the fact that Amnesty International and other signatories of the report also recognise the progress that has been made regarding workers’ rights in Qatar in relation to FIFA World Cup projects and beyond — a significant achievement that FIFA is proud to have contributed to. FIFA has actively pushed for the implementation of broader labour reforms that apply to all companies and projects across the country and benefit all workers in Qatar.
FIFA Spokesperson, quoted in The Athletic