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Qatar: Infantino says World Cup made extra $1bn but FIFA still ignoring worker compensation

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has lauded the success of the tournament but continues to dodge the issue of a FIFA contribution to a worker remediation programme © MASASHI HARA

Open letter from Nepali organisations urges Infantino to ‘stop looking the other way’ on migrant worker compensation issue 

FIFA has ignored longstanding call to set aside at least $440m for compensation fund 

‘The migrant workers behind this World Cup have contributed hugely to FIFA’s incredible wealth’ - Stephen Cockburn

Responding to comments made today by FIFA President Gianni Infantino that football’s world governing body has made record revenues from the World Cup in Qatar, Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said:  

“Gianni Infantino has announced that FIFA made $7.5 billion from the 2022 World Cup cycle, more than $1 billion more than expected. He also forecast FIFA to make in excess of $11 billion over the next four years. 

“Yet he offered nothing new to so many workers and their families who continue to be denied compensation for stolen wages and lost lives.

“The migrant workers behind this World Cup have contributed hugely to FIFA’s incredible wealth, and FIFA has a clear responsibility to compensate them for their losses. 

“The organisation’s proposed new legacy fund must ensure remedy to everyone who made this tournament possible, as well as the families of those who lost loved ones as a result.” 

Nepali open letter

Yesterday, more than 30 Nepali civil society organisations published an open letter to Gianni Infantino calling on him to “stop looking the other way” while Nepali migrant workers are denied compensation after having suffered human rights abuses in Qatar in the years leading up to the World Cup. 

The organisations have displayed messages on billboards across Kathmandu, including at Tribhuvan International Airport where workers from Qatar often return without their wages and where the bodies of migrant workers who have died overseas are regularly repatriated. The billboards include the slogans “Meet The Hardest Working Team In Qatar” and “What’s A World Cup Without Fair Play?”

The civil society organisations’ letter highlights how migrant workers are unable to access a compensation fund set up by Qatar in 2018 to reimburse stolen wages if they’ve already returned to Nepal, and also how bereaved families are unable to receive compensation if the causes of their loved ones’ deaths are not investigated, a common occurrence in Qatar. 

FIFA has ignored call for $440m fund

In May this year, Amnesty and a coalition of human rights organisations, unions and fan groups urged FIFA to work with Qatar to establish a comprehensive remediation programme for migrant workers. As well as providing compensation for all labour abuses related to hosting the tournament in Qatar, FIFA should ensure that abuses are not repeated, both in Qatar and in future tournaments. 

The coalition called for FIFA to set aside at least $440 million for the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have suffered human rights abuses in Qatar during preparations for the World Cup. This sum - the same as the prize money due to be handed out at the competition - represents only a small fraction of the total revenue FIFA has made at the highly lucrative tournament.

More on FIFA’s failings here

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