English FA ‘lagging behind’ after Welsh FA makes significant step to back Qatari workers’ rights

Construction workers, Lusail City, Qatar © Amnesty International

Amnesty International UK today welcomed a new statement by the Football of Association Wales (FAW) which called for “significant improvement” in the working conditions of migrant workers in Qatar.

The announcement comes just three months before the nation’s men’s side takes part in their first World Cup since 1958. However, there has yet to be a similar statement from their English counterparts, whose men’s team have also qualified for the tournament in Qatar.

The announcement from the FAW stated:

“The FAW want to see further significant and lasting improvements in the conditions of migrant workers in Qatar with ongoing support provided through the concept of a Migrant Workers Centre.”

The English FA has yet to explicitly support a Migrant Workers Centre, but it is part of a UEFA Working Group which has expressed tentative support for such a centre.

Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK’s Economic Affairs Director, said:

“This World Cup has only been made possible through the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, and it’s absolutely right that the FAW is supporting efforts to try to finally do something to address this massive abuse.

“Setting up a permanent Migrant Workers Centre in Doha is one way of seeking to ensure that improved conditions and proper workers’ rights are a lasting legacy of Qatar 2022, but the Welsh FA should also back our call on Fifa to set aside $440m for a workers’ compensation fund.

“Fifa is set to make colossal sums from the World Cup, yet it ignored human rights risks in awarding the tournament to Qatar and it has been slow to respond to reports of the non-payment and abuse of workers.

“Nothing can bring dead workers back to life or restore the dignity of those who were trapped in conditions amounting to modern-day slavery during Qatar’s World Cup building boom, but a workers’ fund would be an important move.

“By comparison to Wales, the English FA is lagging behind on Qatari labour rights issues and we would urge the FA to match the FAW’s position over the creation of a permanent Migrant Workers Centre, as well as offering support to a Fifa fund for workers.” 

 

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