ZURICH: FIFA has reiterated its concerns about issues Qatar needs to address in terms of local labour laws writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The world football federation was responding to the Amnesty International report on workers’ conditions in the 2022 World Cup host state and insisting that it expected it match internatioonal standards of social justice and human rights.

The statement said: “FIFA HAS made very clear in previous official statements and in communication with human rights organisations in the past that it uphold the respect for human rights and the application of international norms of behaviour as a principle and part of all our activities. FIFA understands and shares Amnesty International’s efforts towards social justice and respect of human rights and dignity which are very much anchored in the statutes and purpose of FIFA as an organisation.

“FIFA also expects that the hosts of its competitions fully respect these. As a result, FIFA President Blatter personally visited Qatar on 9 November 2013 and he received at a meeting with the new Emir of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, a firm commitment from the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts in this regards.

‘Various issues’

“The state of Qatar is aware of various issues and  has already started to react. FIFA has been informed by the Qatari authorities that the labour laws and labour system will be amended, a process which has already started.  Special attention will be paid to the different inspections that are necessary, the government inspectors will receive more powers to enforce the labour legislation.

“Since November 2011 and on initiative of FIFA, the Qatari authorities and the 2022 Supreme Committee are already in contact with the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) union, with the Human Rights Watch and with the International Labour Organisation (ILO).  The event organisers have released a workers’ welfare charter which is publicly available and are currently developing their workers’ welfare standards.

“FIFA firmly believes in the positive power that the FIFA World Cup can have in Qatar and in the Middle East as a great opportunity for the region to discover football as a platform for positive social change, including an improvement of labour rights and conditions for migrant workers.

“Despite the current main focus of FIFA’s work on the 2014 and the 2018 FIFA World Cups, FIFA continues to promote the dialogue between the Qatari Ministry of Labour, the ILO and the civil society organisations.

“It is FIFA’s aim that the host countries of our flagship event ensure healthy, safe and dignified working conditions for all – nationals and foreigners, including construction workers – involved in the prepartion of the event.”