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Fifa faces fresh calls to compensate World Cup migrant workers

Fifa has been urged to “establish a firm plan” to compensate migrant workers who suffered human rights abuses in Qatar in building the 2022 World Cup.

There have been fresh calls for Fifa to commit to the “legacy fund” pledged by president Gianni Infantino on the eve of the World Cup ahead of this week’s annual congress in Rwanda.

Amnesty International has handed Fifa a letter signed by over one million people ahead of the summit demanding Fifa to provide compensation for labourers and their families, while the Norwegian FA has called for a “full implementation” of Fifa’s human rights “commitments”.

Fifa announced a “legacy fund” before the World Cup in November but Amnesty International says Fifa has not provided details on how it will compensate workers who suffered wage theft, illegal recruitment fees, injuries and even death in Qatar.

The Norwegian FA, supported by several other football associations, has tabled a discussion at this week’s annual congress on how Fifa can remedy human rights abuses suffered by workers at the World Cup. Amnesty International has also delivered “worker football shirts” to Fifa’s museum in Zurich to recognise the sacrifices made to build the World Cup.

“This meeting offers another opportunity for Fifa to make amends and establish a firm plan and timetable to directly and quickly recompense workers and their families who suffered shocking human rights abuses to deliver a World Cup that was built on their sacrifice,” Steve Cockburn of Amnesty International said.

“By presenting the football shirts at the Fifa museum in Zurich we are demanding that the organisation recognises the sacrifice of migrant workers, and that their outstanding demands for compensation are met.

 (Amnesty International)
(Amnesty International)

“Workers suffered horrific abuses to help deliver a World Cup tournament that made billions of dollars for Fifa yet brought a human cost of indebted families and workers’ deaths. While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, there is no doubt Fifa has the resources to help mend these injustices and provide life-changing support to workers and their families.

“The time has come for Fifa to properly address its responsibilities rather than merely passing the buck to Qatar.”

A leading Qatari official admitted during the World Cup that “between 400 and 500” migrant workers died building the tournament, but a lack of investigations into the causes of workers’ death means the true figure is unlikely to be fully known. Amnesty International says Qatar’s labour reforms fail to compensate workers who have left the country or families who have lost loved ones.

Infantino said Fifa made over $7 billion from the World Cup but has yet to announce financial details regarding its “legacy fund” three months on from the tournament.

Fifa has been contacted for comment