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Qatar: Irish FA backs human rights calls in FIFA meeting in Doha

The build-up to the 2022 World Cup has seen numerous reports of workers being exploited, forced to live in squalid conditions and being denied their rights © FIFA via Getty Images

Irish Football Association President and Chief Executive have met senior FIFA officials in Doha to call for progress on human rights

IFA backs calls for migrant worker compensation and investigations following ‘positive’ engagement by IFA with Amnesty

‘The World Cup must be a catalyst for change, but time is running out’ - Patrick Corrigan

The Irish Football Association (IFA) has met senior FIFA officials in Doha to press for progress on a compensation scheme for thousands of exploited migrant workers and their families, the establishment of a migrant workers centre in Qatar, and for investigations into worker deaths and other human rights issues in the run-up to the World Cup.

Amnesty International has welcomed the IFA intervention, which followed a meeting with Amnesty earlier this month, with the human rights organisation saying it now wanted to see concrete commitments from FIFA and the Qatari authorities.

The IFA has provided Amnesty with an update on its meeting with FIFA. Irish FA President Conrad Kirkwood and Chief Executive Patrick Nelson led the IFA delegation which raised the issues in a meeting with FIFA officials in Qatar and has committed to ensuring these topics remain on the agenda for future meetings with the world football body.

While FIFA updated IFA on what it said was a positive meeting with the UEFA Working Group on Human and Labour Rights, and FIFA President Gianni Infantino has recently announced a legacy fund to support education and “share best practices in labour matters”, it has so far failed to offer clear commitment to compensate migrant workers or take the other steps called for by campaigners.

Amnesty, trade unions and fan groups have called for FIFA to earmark at least $440m - the same as the sum it intends to hand out in World Cup prize money - to provide remedy for the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have suffered human rights abuses in Qatar during preparations for the 2022 World Cup.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“We welcome this intervention by the Irish Football Association. A growing number of football associations are now calling for justice for the migrant workers who built the stadiums and infrastructure for the World Cup in Qatar.

“We want to thank the Irish FA for speaking up for migrant workers who’ve been so exploited in the run-up to the Qatar World Cup.

“The IFA’s support for our three key calls - a compensation scheme for exploited migrant workers in Qatar, the establishment of a migrant workers centre in Doha and for Qatar to conduct official investigations into worker deaths - is very welcome.

“The World Cup must be a catalyst for change in Qatar, but time is running out for FIFA to take responsibility for addressing abuses committed in connection with this tournament.”

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