Protesters peacefully demonstrated at a Hong Kong Football Association ceremony in the country over the deaths of migrant workers involved in the construction of stadiums and infrastructure in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
According to an Associated Press report on Thursday, the event, which was attended by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, saw a handful of individuals hold banners and placards to protest reports from The International Trade Union Confederation that some 1,200 workers have died in less than four years as the result of unsafe working conditions in Qatar as the country readies for the World Cup.
Blatter addressed the issue, but only to say that while he acknowledges that there is in fact a problem with those deaths in Qatar, it's not an issue for FIFA to handle, rather something that "must" be addressed by local officials in the country, according to the report:
"They have a problem and we know that but this is not a question for FIFA. It is one which the state of Qatar must handle as well as all the construction companies who are responsible for the workers."
Blatter also took the same stance when asked about security concerns in Brazil when it hosts the World Cup this summer. One man recently died amid violent protests in the country, and in November several people died after a partially-completed stadium in Brazil to be used for the tournament collapsed. Three stadiums there have yet to be completed despite the tournament kicking off in less than two months. Blatter said the security concerns need to be handled by the Brazilian government and not by FIFA, according to the AP:
"Yes, there are security issues but those matters lie with the government and state of Brazil and that is a part of the commitment they have given to us. FIFA cannot ensure security."SI WIRE: Report: New York City F.C. to Play in Yankee Stadium