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Fri 18 Nov 2011 09:39 AM

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FIFA pledges to probe Qatar 2022 labour issues

Secretary general Jerome Valcke promises to raise concerns with Qatari authorities

FIFA pledges to probe Qatar 2022 labour issues
FIFAs secretary general Jerome Valcke
FIFA pledges to probe Qatar 2022 labour issues
Image for illustrative purposes only
FIFA pledges to probe Qatar 2022 labour issues
FIFA president Sepp Blatter will receive the letter today, the ITUC said

FIFA has pledged to address labour issues in Qatar over the next few months following threats to disrupt construction plans connected to the World Cup 2022 tournament.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke met with officials from the International Trade Union Confederations (ITUC) on Thursday and agreed to raise concerns with Qatari authorities.

In a statement posted on the FIFA website, Valcke said: "In the meeting it was agreed that FIFA and ITUC will work jointly over the next few months to address labour issues with the Qatari authorities.

"It was also agreed to add labour related criteria to the bidding process of future FIFA World Cups," he added.

"As the world governing body of the most popular sport we have a responsibility that goes beyond the development of football and the organisation of our competitions," the statement went on to say.

"FIFA upholds the respect for human rights and the application of international norms of behaviour as a principle and part of all our activities."

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow warned on Thursday that labour organisations "would mobilise workers and football fans to target each of FIFA's football associations and the international body to stop the World Cup in Qatar if labour rights are not respected".

Qatar, the world’s biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas, plans to invest about $88bn over the next decade to host the world’s most-watched sporting event.

The wealthy Gulf state has unveiled an unprecedented spending plan to build nine stadiums, hotels, bridges and railways needed for the 2022 games, requiring a flood of foreign labourers.

An August report by Qatar-based rights group NHRC found 70 percent of workers were only paid QR1,100 ($302) a month, while 30 percent of labourers received just QR800 ($219) a month.

A third of the 1,114 workers polled by the group said they never received their wages on time.

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mohamed 8 years ago

International Trade Union Confederations (ITUC) and FIFA should ask authorities in Qatar to remove the SPONSORSHIP SYSTEM and change it like the one in UAE. This will allow for free movement of workers between jobs and lead to competitive salaries for migrant workers, instead of being harassed by employers under the present system. The present system places a two-year ban on a worker seeking a job in a new company.
A survey has said the UAE has "happiest residents in the Gulf."
Qatar should also aim for this immediately before hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup. Best of luck to FIFA and ITUC.

Nadeem Shah 8 years ago

Solving the Labor issues will be good for an eye-wash for FIFA.

Things in most of the Middle-East go against the work-force, i.e. Sponsorship Laws, that "bind" the worker with the current employer unless the employer allows him to work elsewhere.

Secondly, the employer keeps the workers passport in his possession in most of the cases in the private entities.

Thirdly, unless allowed, you can't travel outside most of the countries in ME.

John 8 years ago

Such restrictions are needed otherwise the whole labor market will descend to chaos. Just imagine if workers could change jobs if they got better salaries, the employer wont be able to run a business .
And if passports were with workers, every other worker would steal and run away to his home country.
Western economies are suffering now and one of the reasons is that they have too much rights for workers. As a business owner, i find the Gulf is a much better place as workers are kept in line.

david robertson 8 years ago

DEAR JOHN,

I think you have been brought into today' time from the dark ages, with no respect to humanity. Your comments are so out of touch with today' world' reality.

Your comment 'workers are kept in line" are full of racism. The reason why western economies are suffering is pure greed and biz driven by bottom line with no regard to people/workers/consumers.
I just dread at the thought of people who work for you in your biz.(I have a feeling you are one of those contractors who is looking for that pie in Doha for building those projects.)

Paul King 8 years ago

Let's pray that the inevitable financial collapse in the west will initiate a major re-think of the hosting of major tournaments. Clearly, this is the most absurd decision even by FIFA's abysmal standards. 2022 is a way off yet and my guess is that the decision to stage a football World Cup in Qatar will face many more barriers yet.

AXLE 8 years ago

ABOLISH THE SPONSORSHIP LAW. FREE THE WORKERS FROM THE BONDAGE OF THEIR EMPLOYERS. ALLOW PEOPLE TO FREELY CHANGE JOBS.