FIFA chief hints at progress towards Qatar worker compensation package

October 14 – Through a high-ranking administrator, global governing body FIFA has suggested it’s considering compensation for migrant workers in Qatar who suffered human rights abuses in the build-up to the World Cup. 

The French, German and Norwegian FA’s have been among a number of FIFA’s members to support the call for a remediation fund of $440 million, the equivalent of the prize money on offer during the World Cup.

Compensation is “certainly something that we’re interested in progressing,” said FIFA deputy secretary general Alasdair Bell at a Council of Europe session on labour rights in Qatar.

“It’s important to try to see that anyone who suffered injury as a consequence of working in the World Cup, that that is somehow redressed.”

In November and December, Qatar will become the first Arab country to stage the World Cup, but the Gulf nation has come under a lot of criticism for its treatment of migrant workers, who have suffered human rights and labour law abuses on an industrial scale.

Local organisers claim that worker welfare has improved across the board with World Cup boss Nasser Al Khater saying that in an interview with Sky Sports that critics have “to educate themselves a bit more about what’s happening on the ground in Qatar”.

Norwegian Football Federation president Lise Klaveness told lawmakers in Strasbourg that “It is difficult to frame it in but it is necessary, also for historical abuses, injuries and deaths”

Earlier this year human rights groups and NGOs called for FIFA and Qatar to pay compensation. Qatar has set up a workers’ support fund which, since 2020, has paid $164 million in compensation, according to Human Rights Watch, citing data from the Qatari government.

“It is not just fluff, it’s real, and it is delivering some tangible benefits that have actually improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Bell.

“The risk is that once the spotlight is turned off after the World Cup it’s really important that these changes remain and are built upon and hopefully even spread wider in the Middle East.”

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