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Fifa legally challenged over treatment of migrant workers in Qatar

Fifa faces legal action in the Swiss Courts as a result of its vote in December 2010 to hold the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, due to the plight of migrant workers. 

The legal challenge is being brought by the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) on behalf of a Bangladeshi migrant worker, Nadim Sharaful Alam who is claiming compensation for damages.  In a letter accompanying a draft writ, Fifa have been asked to acknowledge that it acted wrongfully by awarding the World Cup 2022 to Qatar without demanding assurances that Qatar observes fundamental human and labour rights with regard to migrant construction workers, where the work is related to the 2022 World Cup.

It was argued that Fifa should have demanded abolition of the kafala system, a draconian system used to control the working lives and free movement of migrant labourers and that it should have guaranteed the rights of migrant workers to change jobs, have freedom to leave Qatar if and when they wished and have the right to form unions.  Alternatively, Fifa is being asked to acknowledge that it should not have awarded the World Cup 2022 to Qatar.

Amnesty International had produced a report which accused Qatar of ‘appalling treatment’ of migrant workers.  In response to this report, Fifa’s head of sustainability, Federico Addiechi has stated that ‘while Fifa cannot and indeed does not have the responsibility to solve all the societal problems in a host country of a Fifa World Cup, Fifa has taken concrete action and is fully committed to do its utmost to ensure that human rights are respected on all Fifa World Cup sites and operations and services directly related to the Fifa World Cup.’

The matter continues.

Read newspaper article in The Guardian here.

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