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Qatar: Infantino must tackle human rights issues if world is to ‘focus on the football’

Responding to the news that FIFA President Gianni Infantino has written a letter to all 32 nations competing at the 2022 World Cup, urging them to ‘focus on the football’ and to set aside human rights concerns, Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice, said:

“If Gianni Infantino wants the world to ‘focus on the football’ there is a simple solution: FIFA could finally start tackling the serious human rights issues rather than brushing them under the carpet. A first step would be publicly committing to the establishment of a fund to compensate migrant workers before the tournament kicks off and ensuring that LGBT people do not face discrimination or harassment. It is astonishing they still have not done so. 

“Gianni Infantino is right to say that ‘football does not exist in a vacuum’. Hundreds of thousands of workers have faced abuses to make this tournament possible and their rights cannot be forgotten or dismissed. They deserve justice and compensation, not empty words, and time is running out.”   


Gianni Infantino’s letter can be viewed at the bottom of this article. In May 2022 – Amnesty and a coalition of organisations launched a campaign calling on Qatar and FIFA to establish a comprehensive remediation programme to compensate migrant workers who suffered abuses in the preparation and delivery of Qatar 2022. Since then, the call has garnered the support of many FAs and World Cup sponsors and FIFA’s senior leadership have acknowledged the importance of compensation, though the footballing body is yet to publicly commit to doing so.