French FA join push for a Qatar migrant workers compensation fund

October 5 – The French Football Federation (FFF) is spearheading a campaign for the creation of a compensation fund for migrant workers in Qatar, the host nation of the World Cup. 

At the opening of the Think Football forum, Tuesday, October 4, at the Paris headquarters of the body, FFF deputy vice-president Philippe Diallo said that the FFF is working with a dozen other federations on compensation for victims of human rights and labour abuses in Qatar.

FIFA wants “to create a reception centre for migrant workers which would be part of the legacy of the Qatari World Cup, to create a compensation fund for all those who have been victims of accidents work during the construction sites of the World Cup, and to ensure that all captains can wear an armband sign of inclusion”.

The FFF also stressed that it wants to guarantee good “working conditions and remuneration” to employees and service providers at the base camp of the France team in Doha.

With Diallo’s words, the FFF has become the latest European FA to back the call for a compensation fund following the support of the DFB.

Last week, Brazil coach Tite came out in support of a compensation fund: “I would always like that there is greater social equality. I will support a movement for great social equality, not just in Qatar, but everywhere. Where people have greater social equality, greater opportunity, greater education, where there are teachers because some foundations are fundamental.”

“So that people have a more just, more egalitarian society, whether they are in Qatar or in any place. For the human side. I will support it, support it. … In relation to the fund? As well.”

Previously, Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal: “Of course, I support it. That fund is a must, especially when you see what FIFA earns with the World Cup.”

In 2010, Qatar was awarded the World Cup hosting rights but ever since the Gulf nation has been under scrutiny for its human rights and labour law track record. Much of the abuse revolves around the kafala system, prevalent in Gulf countries. It ties a “foreign” worker to a sponsor, who yields “unchecked powers over migrant workers, allowing them to evade accountability for labour and human rights abuses, and leaves workers beholden to debt and in constant fear of retaliation”, according to Human Rights Watch.  Qatar and local World Cup organisers have always maintained that worker welfare standards have dramatically improved.

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