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18 Nov 2021

Pete Pattisson, The Guardian (UK)

Qatar 2022: Workers in FIFA-endorsed hotels allegedly subject to overcrowded accommodation, passport confiscation & unable to change job; incl. comment from FIFA

See all tags Allegations

Benny Marty, Shutterstock (purchased)

Sometimes I ask myself why I came here. The World Cup is a big thing and everyone enjoys it, but the way they treat us … we are all tired of it... My friends have tried to change jobs but our company refuses to let them go. We have to accept it. Our boss does whatever he wants.

"'We have fallen into a trap': for hotel staff Qatar's World Cup dream is a nightmare," 18 Nov 2021

The Guardian stayed at or visited seven of the hotels listed in Fifa’s hospitality website and in interviews and conversations with more than 40 workers – employed directly and through sub-contractors uncovered a number of allegations of serious labour rights violations and low wages...

Many workers alleged they worked extremely long hours, with some saying they had not had a day off for months... some workers said they were housed in overcrowded rooms in stifling labour camps. A few workers claimed their passports had been confiscated. Many said their employer would not let them change jobs...

Workers made multiple allegations of breaches of Qatar’s labour law, which suggest shortcomings in Qatar’s labour reforms. These promised an end to abusive working conditions and the kafala sponsorship system that meant workers could not change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s consent...

The workers’ allegations also imply that Fifa has failed to effectively carry out basic checks on the hotels investigated by the Guardian that it had signed up to its catalogue, in breach of its own human rights policy, which requires it to prevent labour abuses linked to its operations...

A spokesperson for Fifa said it “takes any claim concerning the rights of workers contributing to the hosting of Fifa events very seriously”.

The spokesperson said a dedicated team was implementing an audit and compliance system for companies involved in the delivery of the World Cup, including hotels, to ensure workers’ rights were respected. “While there is a need for continued improvement, we have already seen important progress by many hotels in Qatar in recent months,” the spokesperson added.