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English FA ‘lagging behind’ Wales on Qatar labour rights issues says Amnesty International

26 Aug 2022 3 minute read
Construction work in Qatar. Picture by Alex Sergeev (CC BY-SA 3.0).

England’s FA is lagging behind the Football Association of Wales on Qatar labour rights, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty International said that the FA had failed to publicly support migrant workers ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, following a statement from the FAW.

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.

“Alongside fellow European National Associations, the FAW has committed to due diligence with all major local suppliers and in in collaboration with the Hospitality Working Group, International Labor Organisation and the Qatar Supreme Committee is conducting a range of checks to ensure that any partners or services used in Qatar, both before and during the tournament, meet the required standards regarding human rights and provide full support to their employees.”

However, Amnesty International said that there had “yet to be a similar statement from their English counterparts, whose men’s team have also qualified for the tournament in Qatar”.

‘Lagging behind’

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

He added: “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.”

The FA told the Daily Mail that they had communicated its support to UEFA and FIFA over plans to build a Migrants Workers Centre in Qatar.

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