Fifa defends 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar

Dubai: Fifa, the world governing body for football, defended 2022 Fifa World Cup hosts Qatar after a Human Rights Watch report found that Qatar was still falling short on migrant workers’ rights.

The 78-page report has claimed that wage abuses are “persistent and widespread” across at least 60 employers and companies in Qatar. This is allegedly the case in various occupations, including security guards, servers, baristas, bouncers, cleaners, management staff and construction workers. Many are building or servicing the stadiums, transportation, hotels, and infrastructure for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2022.

In response to the report, Fifa claimed there were “robust systems” in place to prevent wage abuse. “Fifa has a zero-tolerance policy to any form of discrimination and to wage abuse,” a statement from the governing body declared.

“Through our work to protect the rights of Fifa World Cup workers in Qatar, Fifa is aware of the importance of wage protection measures in the country and this is why Fifa and the other tournament organisers have put in place robust systems to prevent and mitigate wage abuse on Fifa World Cup sites, as well as mechanisms for workers to raise potential grievances and practices to provide for remediation where companies fail to live up to our standards,” the statement added.

Issues such as delayed, unpaid, and deducted wages are more rampant now due to the coronavirus pandemic. To ease financial pressures on the country, state-funded companies were asked to cut monthly costs for non-Qatari employees by 30 per cent in July.

Similar allegations of corruption also surrounded the World Athletics Championships which Qatar hosted last year. Opponents have claimed the country has used major sporting events to improve its image amid a poor human rights record.

Qatar is also bidding for the 2027 Asian Cup, and is set to be in a head-to-head battle with Saudi Arabia for the hosting rights for the 2030 Asian Games.

Following the announcement of the two bidding countries, Amnesty International called on the Olympic Council of Asia to ensure all bids are assessed to identify potential risks. The organisation said the Games should be used to bolster and defend human rights in host countries.

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