FIFA Executive Committee must address Qatar migrant workers’ rights

Migrant workers’ rights in Qatar and the 2022 World Cup will be under discussion at FIFA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting in Zurich on 20 and 21 March 2014.

Despite previous promises by FIFA to address the “unacceptable” situation for migrant workers in Qatar, last week FIFA’s Secretary-General Jerome Valcke said:  “FIFA is not a United Nations. FIFA is about sport.” 

Amnesty International is calling on FIFA to clarify its stance and end mixed messages over its role in addressing the abuse of migrants in Qatar’s construction sector. 

“When FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, it assumed a responsibility for the human rights impact of that decision. It is involved in this issue, whether it likes it or not,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrant workers in the Gulf.

“FIFA should have a clear and consistent public message that human rights must be respected in the preparation and staging of World Cups and should be advocating to the Qatari government to urgently address the risk of labour rights abuses in the context of the 2022 World Cup. It is time for FIFA to clarify where it stands.”

A report on migrant workers and the Qatar 2022 World Cup is expected to be presented at the meeting by Exco member Dr Theo Zwanziger. 

James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrant workers in the Gulf, has carried out extensive research into the conditions for migrant workers in Qatar and is available for interview

Possible talking points:

• FIFA’s responsibility to address the abuse of migrant workers’ rights

• Qatar 2022 workers’ welfare standards

• Qatar’s labour laws for migrant workers and the ‘kafala’ sponsorship system


In November 2013, Amnesty International published a detailed report into abuses against migrant construction workers in Qatar. For a full copy of the report please see: The Dark Side of Migration: Spotlight on Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the World Cup