March 14 – On the eve of the FIFA Congress and president Gianni Infantino’s retaking of his vows in Kigali, Amnesty and a million petition signees have demanded FIFA compensate migrant workers who suffered human rights and labour abuses in Qatar.
It’s an issue that seemingly won’t go away for the world federation. After years-long scrutiny from media, human rights groups and NGOs, Amnesty and non-profit activist Avaaz have again called on Zurich to “stop looking the other way”. They also handed over blue workwear and yellow vests worn by migrant workers in Qatar.
“Workers suffered horrific abuses to help deliver a World Cup tournament that made billions of dollars for FIFA yet brought a human cost of indebted families and workers’ deaths,” said Amnesty’s Steve Cockburn. “While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, there is no doubt FIFA has the resources to help mend these injustices and provide life-changing support to workers and their families.”
The global governing body generated a record $7.5 billion from the 2022 World Cup cycle, with Infantino repeatedly trumpeting the event as “the best” global finals ever, but details over the ‘legacy fund’ remain vague. FIFA said the fund would focus on education and a labour excellence hub.
At FIFA’s congress, the Norwegian Football Association and its president Lise Klaveness will once again raise the issue of human rights, calling on FIFA to “assess whether it has fulfilled its responsibility to remedy related to the 2022 World Cup, including an investigation into World Cup-related deaths and injuries.”
It will be a rare note of dissent at FIFA’s annual meeting which under Gianni Infantino has become more a processional procedure through a highly scripted agenda rather than a forum for sharing global idea, concerns and proposals for the world game. At last year’s Congress in Doha, Klaveness also highlighted human rights as well as discrimination against minorities which prompted a furious response from the Supreme Committee’s general secretary Hassan Al Tawadi.
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