Migrant workers are at the heart of realising Qatar’s dream of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. But 10 years after FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar, thousands of them are still being exploited by unscrupulous bosses.
But today, while FIFA is set to generate huge revenues from the World Cup, migrant workers are still suffering to make it possible. Qatar’s recent reforms are not being adequately implemented or enforced, meaning many companies are still not paying their workers properly or treating them fairly. Employers still have undue control over their workers’ lives and can make them work excessive hours or block them from changing jobs. When migrant workers are exploited, it’s very difficult for them to get justice or compensation, and they’re banned from joining trade unions so can’t collectively fight for better working conditions
When FIFA decided to hold the World Cup in Qatar it knew – or should have known – that there are inherent risks in hosting the tournament there, due to the country’s heavy reliance on migrant workers and the serious exploitation they face.
FIFA has a clear responsibility to act when workers on World Cup projects are at risk of labour abuse, and to use its influence to urge Qatar to properly protect all migrant workers. While progress has been made on workers’ rights, the ongoing abuses show that Qatar and FIFA have much more to do if the World Cup is going to leave a positive legacy.