Amnesty International has urged FIFA to set up a compensation fund of at least US$440 million (£350m) for migrant workers who have suffered “human rights abuses” during preparations for the Qatar World Cup.
The sum suggested is equal to the 2022 World Cup prize money fund.
Amnesty International made the request in a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, which states: “Until all workers are compensated, the tournament cannot be truly celebrated.”
It is estimated up to 30,000 migrant labourers have been used on projects to build seven stadiums for the finals in Qatar, as well as a new airport, new metro and new roads.
Amnesty, along with other human rights organisations and fans’ groups, have called on FIFA not only to support workers who have died or been injured, but who have had pay withheld by employers or been forced to pay recruitment fees in order to secure work.
Amnesty International’s UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh said there was a role to play for the England team, manager Gareth Southgate and the Football Association to put pressure on FIFA to act.
“Thousands of migrant workers have been exploited and many have tragically died to make this World Cup possible, so we hope the FA and Gareth Southgate and the players will back this innovative scheme to secure much-needed compensation for long-suffering workers’ families,” he said.
“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 FIFA workers’ fund would still be an important move.”
FIFA said it was assessing the programme proposed by Amnesty and was already looking at ways to compensate workers in association with the organising committee.
“Through the recruitment fee reimbursement scheme, for example, both Fifa World Cup and non-FIFA World Cup workers have received payments of a total US$22.6m (£18m) as of December 2021, with an additional US$5.7m (£4.5m) committed by contractors,” it said.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers added they had “worked tirelessly” with international groups for the rights of workers on stadiums and other tournament projects.
A spokesperson for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said: “Significant improvements have been made across accommodation standards, health and safety regulations, grievance mechanisms, healthcare provision, and reimbursements of illegal recruitment fees to workers.” (Source: BBC)