FIFA 2022 WC: Infantino creates body for decent working conditions at FIFA WC stadiums

Doha, Qatar (PANA) - FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday announced the creation of an oversight body with independent members to monitor the systems in place to ensure decent working conditions at FIFA World Cup stadiums.

With this initiative, FIFA will step up its efforts in overseeing the set-up by the Supreme Committee, the world football governing body said in a statement on its website as Infantino concludes his 20-22 April visit to Qatar, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

It said the composition of this new body, which will be led by FIFA, should include relevant sectors of civil society and other relevant FIFA stakeholders to oversee all FIFA competitions.

The statement said the FIFA President was "very pleased by the positive reaction and the support" offered by the Qatari authorities for this initiative.

“Over the last few weeks I have been following very closely the discussions on FIFA and human rights, particularly around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” said Infantino. “I have seen the measures taken by the Supreme Committee and I am confident that we are on the right track. An encouraging example is the Supreme Committee’s response to issues that have occurred, such as the ones raised by Amnesty International in its latest report, which were already tackled by the Supreme Committee prior to the release of the report. This shows that the mechanisms in place are working related to FIFA World Cup construction although challenges remain.”

The statement said the hosting of the FIFA World Cup is an opportunity to set a benchmark in terms of sustainable and fair conditions for all workers in Qatar. In connection with the 2022 event, this body will validate the quality and effectiveness of the due diligence processes in place, will analyse the regular findings of the independent auditing system, the remediation measures taken by the Supreme Committee to address any issues and report about findings, recommendations and progress, with the aim of increasing transparency around this important topic.

The FIFA President reiterated that as a global sporting body FIFA’s primary responsibility is to serve the game and stage football events. However, labour issues especially in the construction sector are a global challenge and we understand that everybody involved has a shared responsibility. Infantino concluded that “we take our responsibility seriously and are committed to playing our part”.

Human rights group Amnesty International on Wednesday asked FIFA president Infantino to use his meetings with Qatari officials to press for reform of laws that leave migrant workers at risk of exploitation and abuse, sometimes even forced labour.

“Gianni Infantino has a golden opportunity to show that under his Presidency FIFA will promote human rights. Without robust engagement starting right now, every football fan who visits Qatar in 2022 is likely to directly encounter migrant workers – in hotels, sports venues, shops – whose human rights have been abused,” said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Gulf Migrants Rights Researcher.

Qadri said: “It is essential that FIFA publicly call on Qatar to tackle the systematic exploitation and abuse of World Cup workers, largely driven by the sponsorship system in Qatari law that leaves workers at the mercy of their employers. Amnesty International spoke to more than 200 workers and every single one of them reported abuse of one kind or another. And that was at just one stadium and its surrounding facilities. What happens when work on seven brand new stadiums peaks in 2017?

On 31 March 2016, Amnesty International published a report which, it said, exposed abuse of construction workers building Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, which will host a World Cup semi-final in 2022.

It said the response of the world football governing body was "shockingly indifferent" to the abuses, which in some cases amounted to forced labour. "The main contractors named in the report were unaware of abusive companies operating on their worksites. Some of the companies also claimed to be ignorant of the fact that their workers had paid huge fees to work in Qatar and were being paid less than initially promised."

The report said FIFA must call on the Qatari authorities to publish a timetable for systematic reform ahead of an expected mid-2017 peak in World Cup construction, when the number of World Cup stadium workers is expected to hit 36,000.
-0- PANA MA 22April2016

22 april 2016 10:33:51

xhtml CSS