A panel will be created by FIFA to oversee working conditions at Qatar 2022 World Cup construction sites in a bid to allay growing human rights concerns, President Gianni Infantino announced on an inspection visit to the Gulf nation.
In what was his first working trip to the country, controversially awarded the rights to FIFA’s flagship quadrennial competition in December 2010, Infantino revealed the group would include “relevant sectors of civil society and other relevant FIFA stakeholders”.
The establishment of the panel comes amid continued criticism from Amnesty International, who published a damning report into alleged labour abuses at the Khalifa International Stadium and other venues over the treatment of migrant workers building infrastructure for the tournament last month.
“Concluding his two-day visit to Qatar, FIFA President Gianni Infantino today announced the creation of an oversight body with independent members to monitor the systems in place to ensure decent working conditions at FIFA World Cup stadiums,” a FIFA statement read.
The build-up to the event in six years’ time has been littered with suggestions by Amnesty International that FIFA and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have persistently done little to address “rampant migrant labour abuse”.
It came after the publication of high death toll figures among migrant workers, with it claimed as many as 1,200 may have died since 2010.
Following the release of the Amnesty International study, entitled The ugly side of the beautiful game: Labour exploitation on a Qatar 2022 World Cup venue, an independent report written by John Ruggie – a professor at Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts and one of the world’s foremost human rights experts – was released.
It made 25 recommendations to FIFA, including that tournaments already awarded should be moved to different host countries if human rights abuses continued.
“Over the last few weeks I have been following very closely the discussions on FIFA and human rights, particularly around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” said Infantino.
“I have seen the measures taken by the Supreme Committee and I am confident that we are on the right track.
“An encouraging example is the Supreme Committee’s response to issues that have occurred, such as the ones raised by Amnesty International in its latest report, which were already tackled by the Supreme Committee prior to the release of the report.
“This shows that the mechanisms in place are working related to FIFA World Cup construction although challenges remain.”
The Swiss went on to claim that FIFA, an organisation still coming to terms with the worst scandal in its history, “take our responsibility seriously and are committed to playing our part” when it comes to human rights concerns.
“Finally it appears FIFA is waking up to the fact that unless it takes concrete action, the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be built on the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers,” Amnesty International’s Gulf migrants rights researcher Mustafa Qadri said.
“The announcement of an oversight body and Infantino’s admission that FIFA must take human rights seriously are welcome steps in the right direction.
“Amnesty has already exposed human rights abuses on the Khalifa stadium and the surrounding Aspire Green Zone which need addressing right now.
“These cases also demonstrate the need to ensure FIFA’s human rights monitoring is not limited just to stadiums but includes all other activities linked to the tournament.”
- By Liam Morgan
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz