FIFA should compensate victims of World Cup preparations, MEPs say

A migrant worker sleeps on a bench before his early morning shift, in front of Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
A migrant worker sleeps on a bench before his early morning shift, in front of Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar. Copyright AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
By Euronews
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European lawmakers adopted a resolution deploring the deaths of thousands of migrant workers before the World Cup tournament.


Members of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday condemning the deaths of migrant workers during preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament in Qatar.

The lawmakers called on the international football governing body FIFA to contribute to a remediation programme for workers' families as compensation and urged Qatari authorities to conduct investigations into the deaths of migrant workers.

MEPs described the corruption of FIFA as "rampant, systemic and deep-rooted" and criticised the process to award the tournament to Qatar as lacking transparency.

It's widely quoted that 6,500 migrant workers have died since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010.

According to the UN, this is the figure for all deaths, not just those at work or while working on stadium-building projects. Qatar says there were 37 deaths "directly linked to the construction of World Cup stadiums". 

The parliament urged EU countries with large football leagues to exert pressure to "fundamentally reform FIFA," according to a statement from the parliament.

"This would include introducing democratic and transparent procedures when awarding football World Cups and strictly implementing human rights and sustainability criteria for hosting countries."

Euronews has reached out to FIFA about the call for compensation but they had not responded at the time of publication.

In the resolution, MEPs welcomed that the Qatari government had reimbursed wage abuse victims, according to the International Labour Organisation, but MEPs regretted that "many workers in Qatar and their families have been excluded" from the scope of the fund.

In an interview with AFP earlier this month, the country's labour minister Ali ben Samikh Al-Marri rejected calls from NGOs for a compensation fund, pointing out that there was already a fund to compensate wages that paid €320 million to workers in 2022.

The EU's health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said during the European Parliament debate on Monday that the "human rights path for Qatar is far from complete and as for any other country it is a journey that will continue that will never be finished and numerous challenges remain."

She said the EU would continue to watch the human rights situation there closely.

The World Cup began this week and will continue until 18 December 2022.

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