FIFA defends tangible progress on human rights in Qatar

The organization proposes to the Council of Europe financial compensation for injured workers


FIFA announced and defended this Thursday before the Council of Europe the “tangible progress in terms of human rights in Qatar”, thanks to the 2022 World Cup that will take place next month, and also in worker rights, one of the controversial issues in the construction of the different stadiums for the tournament.

Speaking at the Council of Europe parliamentary hearing, FIFA Deputy Secretary General Alasdair Bell stated that the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been a catalyst for the improvement of workers’ rights.

Bell participated in the hearing on “Sports Governance and Social Rights: Protecting Workers’ Rights in Qatar” organized jointly by the Committee on Culture, Science, Education and Media and the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Development Sustainable of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg.

“We are a sports organization, but with a strong commitment to human rights. It is not a triviality, it is real. In fact, it has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. This is a joint effort to improve the level, and the Cup The FIFA World Cup has also been an important catalyst in changing the legislation for the better in Qatar,” said Bell.

“There has been real, tangible progress in Qatar. We have worked hard with the Qatari authorities and NGOs. Working conditions on World Cup construction sites are setting the standard in Qatar. In 2020, some 250,000 people were able to change jobs thanks to to these reforms. Nearly 300,000 workers benefited from the introduction of the minimum wage,” he added.

On the other hand, the representative of FIFA advanced this possible compensation to migrant workers who suffered accidents at work, mostly in the construction of the stadiums. “We will look for ways to give continuity to these reforms, to make sure that they are lasting. The idea of ​​a center in Qatar where migrant workers can receive advice is being studied,” he said.

“As is the possibility of seeking compensation for people who have been injured. These are not easy things to put in place. It is important that all the progress we have made is not lost after the tournament. Once the floodlights go out the World Cup, it is important that these changes remain and also that they spread to the rest of the Middle East,” he added.

In addition, Bell pointed out that in 2017, FIFA introduced human rights requirements in the adjudication processes for all FIFA tournaments. “At FIFA we have put more emphasis on human rights and that has had a significant ripple effect. This World Cup in Qatar will be the first major sporting event with a lasting positive effect in the area of ​​human rights,” he said.