LONDON: Jim Murphy, the British Labour Party MP and Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, has claimed that European football federations are frightened of speaking out over the Qatar World Cup.
He claimed they feared reprisals in the Euro 2020 bidding process.
Murphy said, on BBC Radio this morning, that he had spoken in confidence to senior officials from a number of European federations out of his concern over the issue of migrant workers in the Gulf state.
However, even though the World Cup is an issue for international federation FIFA and the European Championships are run by European authority UEFA, he had been shocked by the political cross-over.
UEFA will decide, in September, which cities across Europe should host matches in the finals of the Euro 2020 tournament.
UEFA president Michel Platini and long-serving Spanish federation leader Angel Maria Villar are both also vice-presidents of FIFA and were members of the executive which voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup.
Murphy said: “The conversations I have had with football association officials have been private but there’s a culture . . . that it is for governments to speak up rather than for football associations.”
He was convinced that officials feared their countries and cities would be denied matches at Euro 2020 if they rocked the boat publicly over issues of illicit payments and/or workers rights in Qatar.
Murphy had visited Qatar with officials of the International Trade Union Confederation and had been shocked at the squalor of migrant workers’ living conditions.
The ITUC has warned that, without significant reform of Qatar labour practices, many thousands of workers could die under the rigour of construction conditions.