FIFA makes shocking claims to the world about compensation for migrant workers

(Geneva, 12 December 2022) – The Fédération Internationale de Football Associations (FIFA) continues to refuse to pay compensation to migrant workers and their families for abuses committed in the context of the preparation and hosting of the competition. 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, FairSquare and Equidem said on Monday (December 12).

After a number of organizations called for compensation for migrant workers since June, FIFA has said in a series of statements that it is committed to finding ways to compensate migrant workers or their relatives when they are killed, injured or injured. wage theft, a very common situation, and supporting the creation of an independent center for migrant workers under the heritage program. However, in the run-up to the tournament, FIFA has yet to announce such plans, instead announcing the creation of a new “legacy fund” that currently provides no compensation for workers. FIFA president Gianni Infantino also made false claims that workers could simply seek compensation from the existing mechanism in Qatar, which was not actually designed for large-scale compensation.

As the 2022 World Cup enters its final week, the aforementioned organizations have appealed to FIFA to use the Legacy Fund to fund compensation for workers, as well as families, including a relative who died while working in Qatar.

“FIFA’s attempt to cover up serious abuses against migrant workers in Qatar is both a global disgrace and a vicious tactic to avoid responsibility for compensating the thousands of abused workers and workers and the families of those killed during the World Cup. can happen,” said Tirana Hasan, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch. “FIFA continues to make billions of dollars in revenue, but refuses to give a penny to the families of migrant workers who lost their lives or those who lost their wages. »

FIFA continues to rake in billions of dollars in revenue, but refuses to pay a penny to the families of migrant workers who lost their lives.

Tirana Hassan, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch

A few months before the 2022 World Cup, FIFA announced in a series of statements and briefings that it plans to compensate workers. This took the form of several public statements by FIFA that it was open to awarding compensation for migrant workers and that it supported the establishment of an independent center for migrant workers. At a Council of Europe hearing on labor law in Qatar on October 13, FIFA Deputy Secretary General Alasdair Bell said that “compensation is certainly an avenue that we are interested in progressing” and that “it is important to work to ensure that everyone with the World Cup those who have been injured in the course of their work may find that the problem is solved one way or another. FIFA has previously assured that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) working group on the rights of Qatari workers has investigated the issue of compensation mechanisms.

Retreat to the repair area

On the eve of the competition, which will start on November 19, FIFA President Gianni Infantino responded to the workers’ compensation claims and said that the Workers’ Support and Labor Insurance Fund of the Ministry of Qatar will deal with the payment of compensations to them. He invited all those who believe they should be compensated to simply “contact the authorities to get their dues. »

The Workers’ Compensation and Insurance Fund, which has been in place since 2020, is used to compensate workers for wage theft when employers insist on not paying them after court rulings in favor of workers. The fund is currently not prepared to pay sufficient compensation for death, injury and wage theft that occurred in the ten years prior to its establishment.

Qatari authorities have also refused to disclose details of the $350 million announced to compensate migrant workers for wage theft, despite repeated requests from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Research further found that victims’ access to existing redress mechanisms is fraught with pitfalls, with payments being limited and workers and families almost impossible to make claims in their countries of origin upon return.

A major obstacle is that in the vast majority of migrant worker deaths in Qatar, families are unable to claim compensation because authorities attribute the death to “natural causes” or “cardiac arrest.” Under Qatari labor law, employers are only required to pay compensation in cases where deaths and injuries are attributed to work-related causes.

At the same press conference, FIFA also announced that it will establish a FIFA World Cup Legacy Fund to be held in Qatar 2022 to be used for educational projects in developing countries. Although the amount of the fund is not yet known, previous funds have been set at $100 million. However, the announcement makes no reference to funding compensation for migrant workers who have suffered abuses while working to make the 2022 World Cup possible, or money to support an independent center for migrant workers, as demanded by unions.

By changing course, FIFA can create lasting improvements in the lives of real heroes and heroines behind the scenes of the World Cup.

Steve Cockburn, Head of the Economic and Social Justice Program at Amnesty International

“Several thousand migrant workers were illegally paid, had their wages stolen or lost their lives to make this sporting event as profitable as possible. It would be outrageous if the FIFA Heritage Foundation did not recognize their contribution and compensate for these losses,” said Steve Cockburn, head of the Economic and Social Justice Program at Amnesty International.

“FIFA can still do the right thing by directing the Legacy Fund to workers and their families, supporting a truly independent worker center and working with Qatar to ensure every worker receives the compensation they are entitled to.” . By changing course, FIFA can bring about lasting improvements in the lives of real heroes and heroines behind the scenes of the World Cup. Refusing to do so would speak volumes for his lack of commitment to workers’ rights. »

Reparations: Human Rights Liability

FIFA also said it would fund the creation of a more general “pillar of excellence for workers” in partnership with the International Labor Organization. Its role will be to share “good practice” in employment and support adherence to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in future competitions. The groups said that obtaining reparations is a key element of the UN Guiding Principles, to which FIFA itself adheres.

“In the run-up to the World Cup, people and families who worked have been contacting us to seek compensation for unpaid wages, abuse and other issues, including workplace deaths. FIFA and Qatar should listen to these calls instead of changing the rules of the game. The tournament was marked by the death and exploitation of workers, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and solidarity with the LGBTI+ community. This is an opportunity for FIFA and Qatar to end on a high note for the women and men who made the tournament possible,” said Equidem CEO Mustafa Qadri.

Contact us to claim compensation for unpaid wages, abuse and other issues, including workplace fatalities, for people who worked before the World Cup and their families.

Mustafa Gadri, managing director of Equidem

This tournament is expected to bring in 7.5 billion US dollars to FIFA. It had to fulfill its obligations under the UN Guiding Principles, which state that corporate responsibility to respect human rights “exists independently of and does not limit the ability and/or determination of States to fulfill their human rights obligations. FIFA is also obliged to explain to the public why, after “reviewing” the compensation plan, it has completely scrapped it.

Demands for compensation are mounting after the #PayUpFIFA campaign launched on May 19, in which a global coalition of human rights organizations, migrant rights groups, trade unions and fan groups called on FIFA to establish a comprehensive program with Qatar. Compensation is paid for all violations committed in connection with the 2022 World Cup. World football’s governing body failed to conduct due diligence on human rights when it chose Qatar to host the World Cup in 2010, and since then it has sought to prevent and remedy violations. did not take effective measures. .

FIFA has so far refused to compensate the workers, ignoring calls by migrant workers and their families for a compensation fund and an independent center for migrant workers, despite widespread support from the general public, football associations, sponsors, politicians and athletes. Last week, the Avaaz campaign also collected 720,000 signatures from members of the public supporting the initiative. Amidst the cheers for the World Cup teams, the disappointment at the human cost of the event resonated strongly with soccer fans around the world.

“Instead of guaranteeing the protection of the migrant workers who built and delivered the infrastructure of the World Cup in Qatar, FIFA benefited from their exploitation and repeated the messages of the Qatari authorities, thus demonstrating their complicity in the misleading and false allegations of abuse against them that eluded them. migrant workers,” said Nick McGeehan, director and founder of FairSquare, which investigates violations of the rights of migrant workers. “FIFA has turned a deaf ear to demands for compensation for migrant workers, including from the football industry, and has ignored the widespread abuse and shortcomings of existing compensation systems in Qatar. »

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