Amnesty want FIFA to give $440m in compensation to Qatar World Cup migrant workers

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Qatar World Cup 2022
The non-governmental organisation, which is focused on human rights, has called for action to be taken ahead of a showpiece event in the Middle East

Amnesty International (AI), an organisation focused on human rights, has called on FIFA to put aside a $440 million (£355m) compensation package aside for migrant workers that have been involved with the 2022 World Cup project in Qatar.

AI have been opposed to football’s flagship event heading to the Middle East ever since rights were awarded to the region, with serious concerns raised as to how the event would be put on using a workforce required to deliver “new stadiums, roads, hotels and other facilities and infrastructure to cater for fans from across the globe”.

Amnesty believe that over the course of the last 12 years, as preparations for an event due to get underway on November 21 are finalised, “hundreds of thousands of migrant workers hired to build or provide services for projects related to the World Cup have been exploited and otherwise abused”.

Why is Amnesty International calling for action from FIFA?

AI claims that employers in Qatar “still have excessive control over their workforce and can cancel worker’s visas or file ‘absconding’ charges against them if they try to change jobs, putting them at risk of arrest and deportation”.

They go on to say, in a statement on the organisation’s official website, that “thousands continue to face wage theft, unsafe working and living conditions, and sometimes insurmountable barriers to changing jobs”.

While there have been visits from AI representatives to Qatar during the pre-tournament planning process, it is suggested that a number of “failures” on a human rights front “have gone unchecked and in many thousands of cases neither the victim nor their family has received compensation for the suffering endured, or adequate redress for the deaths caused”.

What action are Amnesty International calling for from FIFA?

With the countdown to a major event now very much on, AI believe the time has come for Qatar and FIFA to “prevent human rights abuses and compensate abuse”.

A lengthy statement urging a response from those involved goes on to say: “By awarding the World Cup to Qatar without conditions on improving protections for workers’ rights, FIFA has contributed to human rights abuses on a significant scale, beyond just those employed to build and service official FIFA sites.

“In line with international standards, this means that FIFA must now ensure remedy for past labour abuses linked to the 2022 World Cup. This should include workers building or servicing the stadiums, transport infrastructure, accommodation and other projects related to the tournament.

“FIFA should work with Qatar and other partners to set up a programme to provide remedy for hundreds of thousands of workers involved in projects linked to the World Cup.

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“To help fund this, FIFA should reserve an amount at least equivalent to the $440 million prize money provided to teams participating in the tournament. This can be invested in funds to compensate workers, and initiatives to improve workers’ protections for the future. This is easily doable given the organisation will make over $6 billion in revenues from the tournament and has over $1.6 billion of reserves.”

AI sign off by saying that they are looking for “immediate and decisive” action to be taken when it comes to the abuse of migrant workers, with the matter now being left in the hands of Qatari officials and world football’s governing body.

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