Qatar must respect 2022 World Cup workers, says FIFPro

World professional footballers' association says 'deeply alarmed' by reports of labourer deaths
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 28 Sep 2013 10:48 AM

Qatar must respect the rights of the key people who will deliver the 2022 FIFA World Cup including the workers who build the stadia and infrastructure, according to FIFPro, the world professional footballers’ association.

The global organisation has called on the international football community to act with solidarity to ensure that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is "only delivered in accordance with football’s universal values as set out in the FIFA Statutes".

In a statement, Brendan Schwab, FIFPro division Asia chairman and a FIFPro board member, said the FIFA Statutes expressly commit all involved in the world of football to promote friendly relations in society for humanitarian objectives and to fight discrimination of any kind.

"The 2022 FIFA World Cup was awarded to Qatar to promote football and, more importantly, football’s universal values in the Middle East. This can only be achieved if Qatar respects the rights of the key people who will deliver that World Cup: the workers who build the World Cup stadia and the players who play in them," Schwab said in the statement which was published on the FIFPro website.

FIFPro said it is "deeply alarmed" by reports of the brutal exploitation of migrant workers by construction companies in Qatar who are involved in building the stadia that FIFPro members will be expected to play in.

Reports of dozens of worker deaths during the summer also claim workers have been denied access to free drinking water in extreme heat, have been unpaid for months and have had their passports confiscated to prevent them from leaving the country.

"It is even reported that systematic forced labour has been adopted," the FIFPro statement added.

"If these reports are true, then football must act," Schwab said.

"It is inexcusable for workers’ lives to be sacrificed, especially given modern health and safety practices in the construction industry."

He added: "FIFPro assumes that adherence to FIFA’s principles and international labour standards are conditions on which Qatar was awarded the extraordinary privilege of hosting football’s greatest event.

"FIFA has previously acted to ensure international labour standards are respected when it worked with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the fight against child labour in the manufacture of footballs. A similar initiative is urgently needed in Qatar."

He said independent workplace health and safety experts appointed by FIFA and the ILO must be permitted to inspect all worksites and make binding recommendations to ensure international labour standards are respected in Qatar.

FIFPro, the representative of over 50,000 professional footballers, said it collaborates closely with the Uni Global Union, the voice of 20 million service sector workers around the world, to act in solidarity with all workers of the world.

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