This week, more than 120 French politicians signed a petition calling on the world’s soccer governing body FIFA “to set up, as soon as possible, a minimum fund of $440 million, in order to be able to compensate all workers, or their families, who participated in the preparation of the 2022 World Cup and whose fundamental rights were violated.”
Politicians join #PayUpFIFA call
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and 14 other congress people also sent an open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino calling on FIFA to set up a compensation fund.
Thousands of migrant workers involved in construction, hospitality and other key areas of infrastructure required for the World Cup to take place in Qatar have suffered abuses amounting forced labor, including debt bondage, wage theft, being prevented from changing employers, forced to work excessive hours, and having identity documents withheld by unscrupulous employers.
With just over a month to go until the World Cup begins in Qatar, pressure is building on FIFA to set up a compensation and remedy fund for migrant workers who have suffered human rights abuses, and for the families of those workers who died.
The steps taken by US and French representatives are an urgent reminder for those with power and influence over FIFA to break their silence or move beyond cautiously worded statements and call for FIFA to pay up, thereby fulfilling its human rights responsibility according to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and FIFA’s own human rights policy.
FIFA’s responsibility to workers
The Qatari government has passed a number of legislative reforms in the past few years including setting up a Wage Protection System to combat wage theft, setting a minimum wage and allowing migrant workers to change employers. However in practice, implementation is lacking and migrant workers have continued to report exploitative work conditions.
Workers who have protested delayed wages from employers, sometimes not receiving their wages for months on end, have faced arrest and deportation.
FIFA has significant responsibility under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to remedy abuses by ensuring that, at the very least, workers and their families are paid the wages they are owed.
National Football Associations can help pressure FIFA to pay up for migrant workers. Send Football Associations a message today!