by Tim Lezard Unions have criticised FIFA’s report on the Qatar World Cup bid, saying it mentions nothing about the deaths of construction workers. The report by FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert cleared Qatar of corruption, but the TUC is angry it igno …

Qatarby Tim Lezard

Unions have criticised FIFA’s report on the Qatar World Cup bid, saying it mentions nothing about the deaths of construction workers.

The report by FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert cleared Qatar of corruption, but the TUC is angry it ignores the much bigger issue of the Gulf State’s callous treatment of migrant construction workers – around 40 of whom are dying every month.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Since work began building the stadiums and other infrastructure needed to host the world’s biggest football tournament, around 1,400 migrant workers have died in Qatar.

“FIFA appears not to care about the plight of the World Cup workforce, yet if its officials refuse to act to force the Qatari authorities to clean up their act, as many as 4,000 workers could die before the first ball is kicked in 2022.

“No amount of whitewash can obscure what is happening in Qatar. It’s simply not possible for FIFA to claim either that its officials or the authorities in Qatar have clean hands and bear no responsibility for the deaths of the many migrant workers who have died so far.

“Rather than turn a blind eye to the appalling living, and the deadly working, conditions that have already claimed the lives of so many, FIFA should be putting pressure on Qatar to up its game or lose the tournament to another, much safer country.”

The TUC wants to see the government in Qatar end the kafala system (the sponsorship system which means that migrant workers are effectively owned by their employers and need their permission to leave the country), allow workers to join unions, and ensure World Cup workers get decent rates of pay.

UCATT has described the report as a “disgrace”, with general secretary Steve Murphy saying: “This report stinks, FIFA bigwigs are slapping each other on the back stating there is no corruption while workers are dying in their hundreds and being forced to live in abject squalor in the richest country on earth. These people have no shame”

It is a disgrace and sickens me that FIFA has spent their entire time navel gazing and looking at their own bidding process, when the real issue is the terrible way in which migrant construction workers are being exploited in Qatar.”

http://playfairqatar.org.uk


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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