FIFA warned to make sure Qatar respects workers rights

Publish date:

BERNE, (Reuters) -- FIFA will be warned by labour organisations that it faces an international campaign to move the 2022 World Cup from Qatar unless it ensures the host nation respects workers' rights.

International union representatives are to present FIFA president Sepp Blatter with a letter on Thursday telling him of the campaign 'No World Cup in Qatar without labour rights'.

FIFA agreed to meet the unions after a trade union report on migrant workers in Qatar and United Arab Emirates criticised "inhuman" conditions this year, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said in a statement.

The ITUC said unions were "continuing to receive reports of unsafe working conditions and abuse of workers' rights as Qatar sets out to build nine stadiums in 10 years using mostly migrant labour."

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow said: "FIFA has the power to make labour rights a requirement of the Qatari authorities who are hosting a World Cup."

Labour organisations "would mobilise workers and football fans to target each of FIFA's football associations and the international body to stop the World Cup in Qatar if labour rights are not respected," the ITUC added.

"With 308 national trade union centres in 153 countries, the international trade union movement has the members, the power and the mandate to take action to stop the Qatar World Cup."

The ITUC will deliver the letter along with the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the Swiss Union Unia.

"We urge FIFA to include labour rights as a prerequisite to any future country wanting to host the World Cup," said BWI general secretary Ambet Yuson.

"Support from countries with decent labour rights will be used to pressure the Qatari authorities and FIFA to protect workers' rights, particularly migrant workers who are the majority of the construction work force in Qatar."

There is already concern about staging the event in Qatar due to the intense summer heat, despite plans to build air-conditioned stadiums.