Amnesty International and a coalition of human rights organizations, unions and football fan groups are asking FIFA to produce $440 million in remediation to the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have suffered human rights abuses during preparations for the Qatar World Cup.
90% of Qatar’s workforce are workers who have travelled far in the hopes of securing a better livelihood, when Qatar was awarded by @FIFACom the right to host the #2022WorldCup, the weight of the tournament rested overwhelmingly on their shoulders https://t.co/QOB7RGRKQV— Amnesty International (@amnesty) May 19, 2022
FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar in 2010, despite the nation’s human rights abuses being well known at the time. Since then, many of the decision makers who awarded Qatar the tournament have been kicked out of FIFA and accused of/arrested for/charged with corruption.
Nonetheless, FIFA has stuck with the decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar, and the result has been hundreds of thousands of migrant workers brought to the country to build the stadiums in conditions human rights organizations like Amnesty have labeled modern day slavery. You can read the organization’s latest report on Qatar here.
In response to the human rights violations Amnesty has found, the organization has called on FIFA to provide reparations to the migrant workers — and the families of the workers who died — in the form of $440 million, which is equivalent to the prize pool for the 2022 World Cup.
“Given the history of human rights abuses in the country, FIFA knew—or should have known—the obvious risks to workers when it awarded the tournament to Qatar,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. “Despite this, there was not a single mention of workers or human rights in its evaluation of the Qatari bid and no conditions were put in place on labor protections. FIFA has since done far too little to prevent or mitigate those risks. By turning a blind eye to foreseeable human rights abuses and failing to stop them, FIFA indisputably contributed to the widespread abuse of migrant workers involved in World Cup-related projects in Qatar, far beyond the stadiums and official hotels.”
Now with 6 months left to the World Cup, FIFA must compensate the workers ⚽️https://t.co/AAUZ3Y8k7x
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) May 19, 2022
Amnesty estimated the $440 million would be the minimum necessary to cover compensation costs and ensure workers are not abused in the future, with the true cost likely far higher.
Amnesty also called on Qatar to provide reparations. Amnesty recognized Qatar has made some progress but said the progress hasn’t been anywhere close enough.
“For years, the suffering of those who made this World Cup possible has been brushed under the carpet. It is about time FIFA and Qatar came together to work on a comprehensive remediation program that puts workers at its center and ensures that no harm remains unaddressed,” Callamard said. “Under international law and by FIFA’s own rulebook, both Qatar and FIFA have obligations and responsibilities respectively to prevent human rights abuses and provide remedy to victims. The remediation fund Amnesty International and others are calling for is entirely justifiable given the scale of abuses that have been suffered and represents a small fraction of the $6 billion revenues FIFA will make from the tournament.”
Of course, it’s highly unlikely FIFA or Qatar will cough up any sort of reparations to the migrant workers subjected to horrible working conditions, many becoming injured or dying as a result.
In fact, it’s quite clear this is as much of a publicity stunt from Amnesty International as a legitimate demand for reparations, as evidenced by this comedic video released to mock FIFA’s greed.
The comedy hammers home the absurdity of Qatar and FIFA making billions of dollars off the World Cup while hundreds of thousands of workers remain underpaid, injured or dead.
FIFA, meanwhile, remains complicitly silent.