Qatar: overwhelming demand for FIFA to compensate World Cup migrant workers - new global survey
Almost three-quarters (73%) polled across 15 countries support FIFA using World Cup revenue to compensate workers who suffered
UK poll shows 74% support the demand, with 70% also wanting English and Welsh FAs to speak out on human rights
Call for FIFA to establish remediation programme before 20 November kick-off
‘The British public - fans and non-fans alike - want justice for abused World Cup workers’ - Sacha Deshmukh
A new global poll commissioned by Amnesty International has revealed that almost three-quarters (73%) of adults in the countries surveyed would support FIFA compensating migrant workers who suffered during preparations for this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Support is even higher among those likely to watch at least one World Cup game (84%).
The YouGov poll, which surveyed more than 17,000 adults across 15 countries, also showed that a substantial majority (67%) want their national FAs to speak out about the human rights issues associated with the Qatar World Cup, including in support of compensation for migrant workers.
The poll found that people in the UK matched the global trend charted by the poll, with 74% of respondents supporting the call on FIFA to compensate workers and 70% also wanting the FA - whether in England or Wales - to speak out on human rights (see ‘UK findings’ below).
The findings back the #PayUpFIFA campaign launched in May by a coalition of human rights organisations (including Amnesty), fans groups and trade unions, which is calling on FIFA to set aside a fund to compensate workers and prevent future abuses. The campaign is demanding that FIFA sets aside at least $440m - the equivalent it hands out in World Cup prize money. FIFA will make an estimated $6 billion in revenue from the tournament.
Following the launch of the campaign, FIFA has told Amnesty they are considering the proposal but to date have issued no public response.
The #PayUpFIFA campaign has also highlighted that national FAs have a responsibility under international human rights standards to support remedy for migrant workers. However, while the Belgian, Danish, Dutch, English, German and Norwegian FAs have expressed support for the principle of compensation when asked by journalists, no FA has yet made an official public statement specifically calling on FIFA to establish a remediation programme.
Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said:
“These findings send a clear message to football’s leadership.
“Across the globe, people are united in their desire to see FIFA step up and make amends for the suffering endured by migrant workers in Qatar. They also want to see their national associations take a much firmer stance.
“With less than 50 days until kick-off, the clock is ticking. But there is still time for FIFA to do the right thing.
“Supporters don’t want a World Cup that’s indelibly tainted by human rights abuses.
“The past cannot be undone, but a compensation programme is a clear and simple way that FIFA and Qatar can provide at least some measure of redress to the hundreds of thousands of workers who made this tournament possible.”
YouGov surveyed 17,477 adults in Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. Of these, 54% said they were likely to watch at least one World Cup game.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed - and 84% of those likely to watch at least one match - said they supported the proposal that FIFA use some of the money generated by the World Cup to compensate migrant workers who suffered in the tournament’s preparation. The strongest support came in Kenya, where 93% of respondents supported compensation. Thousands of Kenyans work in Qatar where Amnesty has documented numerous abuses, including forced labour of Kenyan security guards, construction workers and domestic workers.
Support for compensation also exceeded three-quarters in 2026 World Cup co-hosts Mexico (86%), and also Spain (83%), Argentina (82%), Switzerland (81%), Finland (79%) and Belgium (77%), while support among likely World Cup viewers was even higher - above 80% in 11 of the 15 countries. Only 10% of those surveyed said they would oppose FIFA providing compensation, with the remaining 17% saying they didn’t know.
More than two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed also think their national FAs should speak out about human rights issues associated with the World Cup, including calling for compensation for migrant workers. Support was highest in Kenya (93%) and close to three-quarters in numerous countries: Spain (74%), Finland (71%), Mexico (71%), France (70%), Norway (70%), Switzerland (70%) and the UK (70%). Support was again higher (71%) among those likely to watch at least one game.
Polling in the UK (of 2,183 people) saw almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents supporting a FIFA remediation programme, with more than half (52%) “strongly supporting” it. Similarly, of those polled in the UK, 70% said they thought the FA - whether in England or Wales - should speak out about human rights issues associated with the World Cup, including by calling for compensation for migrant workers.
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s Chief Executive, said:
“This poll shows that people in the UK want to see the suffering of Qatar’s migrant World Cup workers properly addressed, not pushed aside by the glitz and excitement of the tournament itself.
“The British public - fans and non-fans alike - want justice for abused World Cup workers, and they want to see the English and Welsh FAs showing they genuinely care about human rights by publicly backing a FIFA-funded workers’ remediation programme.
“FIFA should have insisted on human rights clauses when it originally assessed Qatar’s hosting bid - now it needs to make amends.
“Whoever wins the World Cup, we need to see proper recognition of the abuses so many workers experienced in the long and troubled lead-up to Qatar 2022.”
Since 2010, when FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar without requiring improvements in labour protections, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have faced human right abuses while employed to build and service the stadiums, hotels, transport and other infrastructure necessary to host the tournament. Amnesty is calling on FIFA and Qatar to set up a remediation programme with the full participation of workers, trade unions, the ILO and civil society. This should be established - and an initial meeting held between key stakeholders - before the tournament kicks off on 20 November. As well as covering an array of compensation costs - including reimbursing unpaid wages, extortionate recruitment fees paid by hundreds of thousands of workers, and compensation for injuries and deaths - the programme should support initiatives to protect workers’ rights in the future. FIFA’s response to Amnesty’s recent report on a remediation programme is included in the report’s annex. The report was accompanied by an open letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino from Amnesty and a coalition of human rights organisations, unions and fan groups.
Since 2018, Qatar has introduced a series of important labour reforms that aim to improve workers’ rights, but a lack of enforcement means that serious abuses persist. Improvements for workers on official FIFA sites such as stadiums were also introduced in 2014 via the Supreme Committee’s Worker Welfare Standards, but these standards are not universally respected and cover only a minority of the 100,000s of workers on World Cup-related projects. One positive initiative launched in 2018 by the Qatari body responsible for organising the World Cup - the Supreme Committee - includes an agreement with contractors on official World Cup sites to reimburse the recruitment fees of 48,000 workers. However, this agreement does not cover thousands of workers on other infrastructure projects, such as transport, utilities and hotels essential to the World Cup.
All figures (unless otherwise stated) are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 17,477 adults. Fieldwork - conducted online - was undertaken between 16 August and 6 September 2022. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all surveyed countries‘ adults (aged 18+).
- Full poll results