Qatar: Liverpool FC declines FIFA's offer to stay in Kempinski hotel citing ethical concerns; includes FIFA comments

Ahead of the Club World Cup 2019 finals, to be held in Qatar in December, Liverpool Football Club has declined FIFA's offer of the luxury Marsa Malaz Kempinski due to ethical concerns.

A source from Liverpool FC stated to Middle East Eye that "the club was concerned by accusations levelled by human rights groups and newspaper reports that Kempinski had breached labour laws and not paid its workers properly."

Kempinski was put in the spotlight after a 2018 Guardian investigation found systemic labour abuse against staff working at the Marsa Malaz. Findings included instances of security guards being paid very low wages on long shifts in very high temperatures, and other staff being paid below the minimum wage in breach of labour laws. The Kempinski Hotel was previously surveyed as part of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's 2018 survey on worker welfare in Qatar and UAE hotels. Kempinski initially did not respond to the request to survey, but later provided answers.

FIFA is organising accommodation for visiting teams and clubs and provided a response to the Resource Centre on Liverpool's decision and human rights due diligence on hotels. FIFA state that they are now focusing on operations related to the hosting of the Club World Cup and 2022 World Cup alongside worker welfare in construction. They also participate in a multi-stakeholder initiative alongside organisations such as the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Qatari government and tourism businesses to "promote worker rights in the Qatari hospitality sector".

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Article
5 November 2019

Liverpool FC avoid Kempinski hotel in Qatar over workers rights concerns

Author: Areeb Ulla, Middle East Eye

A source at Liverpool Football Club [stated that] the club made the decision to avoid the Marsa Malaz Kempinski over ethical concerns about workers rights... the club was concerned by accusations levelled by human rights groups and newspaper reports that Kempinski had breached labour laws and not paid its workers properly...

[In 2018] UK-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) ran a survey asking several hotel companies, including Kempinski, whether it had a policy on construction and hotel workers.

Kempinski did not respond to BHRRC's survey until after it was published...

Diana Eltahawy, a spokersperson for BHRRC, told MEE that other clubs like Liverpool should "leverage their power to improve conditions for workers".

Read the full post here

Article
5 November 2019

The reason Liverpool have rejected five-star hotel in Qatar as base for FIFA Club World Cup

Author: Jackson Cole, Talk Sport

Liverpool have rejected a five-star hotel in Doha, Qatar, after discovering a number of human rights issues...

They were offered the Marsa Malaz Kempinski... but turned down the option to stay there due to its dubious past...

In October 2018, an investigation by the Guardian revealed that migrant workers employed by the Marsa Malaz Kempinski hotel were earning salaries below that of the minimum wage and were in breach of labour laws...

Liverpool’s decision to find alternative accommodation themselves is likely to increase the scrutiny on Qatar amid long-standing allegations of migrant worker abuse.

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Company response
6 November 2019

FIFA's response re: due diligence in hotel selection for football teams' and clubs' stay in Qatar

Author: FIFA

FIFA... is fully committed to safeguarding the rights of workers contributing to the hosting of [the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 and FIFA World Cup 2022]...

Increased emphasis is now being given also to operational services workers, including those employed by national and international hotel chains... FIFA and the other tournament organisers are part of a multi-stakeholder initiative to promote workers’ rights in the Qatari hospitality sector... to strengthen [hotels'] efforts to uphold their own human rights responsibilities, in line with FIFA’s Human Rights Policy and well-established FIFA World Cup standards... the participating teams are made aware of this commitment and of the initiatives in place to uphold it.

Download the full document here