Blatter told not to come back from Qatar empty handed

Members of 27 strong FIFA Executive Committee warned to keep workers’ rights on agenda

FIFA has pledged its support to fundamental rights in any country hosting its events, and promised that Sepp Blatter will raise employment rights and conditions with the Emir of Qatar in Doha on Saturday.

“Sepp Blatter cannot come back from Qatar empty-handed.

“FIFA needs to tell Qatar that respect for International Labour Organisation standards is a condition for the World Cup in 2022 and that any further delay will jeopardise Qatar’s hosting of the event.

“This means an end to the kafala system, the right for migrant workers to organise unions to ensure safe and decent work, and responsible recruitment of migrant workers.

“FIFA President Sepp Blatter should give a detailed report to next month’s Executive Committee meeting in Brazil about what FIFA has done in the two months since it finally acknowledged the problems facing workers constructing World Cup infrastructure in Qatar,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation.

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After two years of inaction, every month that goes by means more workers will lose their lives in Qatar’s World Cup infrastructure programme.

Members of FIFA’s powerful Executive Committee are being pressured to act on the plight of workers in Qatar by supporters of the global campaign www.rerunthevote.org
Public outrage about conditions in Qatar forced FIFA to acknowledge the problem of workers’ rights in Qatar at their last Executive Committee meeting.

The ITUC estimates 4000 workers could die building World Cup infrastructure by 2022.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that "FIFA cannot interfere with the labour rights of any country, but we cannot ignore them."

“It is shameful that FIFA continues to distance itself from taking any real action in Qatar despite FIFA-inspired worker laws evident in other countries hosting the World Cup. FIFA and its local organising committee in Qatar have the power to ensure the government guarantees rights and better conditions for 1.3 million workers in Qatar,” said Sharan Burrow.

Thousands of supporters of the ITUC-backed campaign www.rerunthevote.org
are contacting the 27 members of the FIFA Executive Committee asking them to:

- Keep the issue of workers’ rights in Qatar on the Executive Committee meeting agenda;
- Investigate the deaths of workers in Qatar;
- Demand joint inspections with trade unions of Qatar’s labour camps and worksites.

Members of FIFA’s Executive Committee, which controversially awarded Qatar the right to host the World Cup, are expressing concern about the situation.

Northern Ireland’s Jim Boyce, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and Germany’s Theo Zwanziger have all spoken out on the issue.

“Workers’ rights must be a condition of Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022. If there are no labour rights, there should be no World Cup in Qatar. There is still time to re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup if Qatar does not reform its ways,” said Sharan Burrow.

The ITUC called FIFA’s proposed courtesy visit to the Emir as a weak and disappointing response to the crisis unfolding in the country. Sepp Blatter is expected to report on his visit at the Executive Committee meeting in Brazil and national football federations in several countries are joining their national union groups in calling on FIFA to act.

Trade unionists and football fans can send a message to their FIFA representative at www.rerunthevote.org

An international union delegation will return to Qatar in early December.

ENDS

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For interviews with Sharan Burrow contact Gemma Swart: gemma.swart@ituc-csi.org +32 479 06 41 63