FIFA refuses to set up compensation fund for exploited workers

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Forced Labor

The world’s soccer governing body, FIFA, has reportedly refused to set up a support fund for migrant workers who suffered abuses working on key World Cup projects.

Failure to act

Freedom United is deeply disappointed at this announcement from FIFA, an organisation set to rake in over $7 billion from the tournament. Human rights organizations, activists, workers, politicians, Football Association and brand sponsors pressured FIFA in advance of the World Cup to heed its human rights responsibilities. 

As part of the #PayUpFIFA campaign over 5,000 in the Freedom United community are calling on FIFA to set aside $440 million – equivalent to the tournament’s prize money – to recompense exploited workers and support the families who relied on remittances from their loved ones who died in Qatar.

Legacy fund is insufficient

Instead of setting up the fund that would go to directly supporting migrant workers, FIFA is leaving it up to the Qatari government to deal with compensation claims. However, many workers face barriers in accessing this system.

The i reports:

Fifa is instead leaving compensation claims to the Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund that was established by the Qatari government 2018. Via the scheme, migrant workers and their families can apply for compensation for unpaid wages and injuries or deaths caused by accidents.

There will be a World Cup 2022 legacy fund with the amount to be decided after the tournament – but there is no guarantee that workers will see these funds. The board of the fund will decide how the money is spent.

FIFA must be held responsible

Under the UN guiding principles on business and human rights FIFA has a responsibility to ensure that rights abuses as a result of the World Cup are remedied.

Amnesty International’s secretary general, Agnès Callamard, said “By turning a blind eye to foreseeable human rights abuses and failing to stop them, Fifa indisputably contributed to the widespread abuse of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects in Qatar, far beyond the stadiums and official hotels.”

Beyond the World Cup we must keep exposing the realities for migrant workers in Qatar who have suffered abuse including forced labor, and continue to report widespread exploitation such as unpaid wages and early contract termination.

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