The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) [website] said [press release] Friday that the Commercial Court of Zurich has rejected a lawsuit by labor unions over picking Qatar as the 2022 World Cup host [official website]. The claim was brought by the Dutch trade union FNV, the Bangladeshi Free Trade Union Congress, the Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation and the Bangladeshi citizen Nadim Shariful Alam in regards to FIFA’s alleged wrongful conduct and liability for human rights violations in connection with the future World Cup host. The groups bringing suit asked for FIFA to demand the country meet the “minimum labor standards” [Reuters report]. Under Qatar’s “kafala” system, foreign workers must get their employer’s consent to change jobs or leave the country. Though reforms have happened within the country, the groups have claimed that injustice is still very present for these workers. FIFA said in their statement:
FIFA takes the issue of working conditions and human rights in connection with the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar very seriously. FIFA monitors the situation very closely and, as recently stated by President Infantino, will continue to urge the Qatari authorities to ensure safe and decent working conditions for construction workers.
The court in Switzerland has not released a statement and could not be reached for comment. In the past few years, FIFA has prominently been in the international news, specifically for this Qatar migrant worker issue and corruption. In April Amnesty International claimed migrant workers preparing [JURIST report] for the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar, are facing systematic abuses. Interviews of 234 migrant workers revealed that many workers had been deceived, finding that their salaries were lower than promised and their living conditions included “squalid labour camps, with overcrowded rooms and few facilities.” In December Amnesty International again stated that Qatar’s new labor reforms [JURIST report] fail to provide adequate protections for migrant workers. The report claims the new labor laws barely address labor exploitation because they still allow for employers to confiscate employees’ passports or travel documents, effectively trapping them within the country. In 2015 the US charged top FIFA officials with corruption charges, then asked Switzerland to extradite some of them [JURIST reports] to the US.
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