Geneva, Switzerland November 19 – FIFA insisted Monday that human rights were the bedrock of football and must be respected by all tournament organisers, as Amnesty International slammed the situation in 2022 World Cup host Qatar.
“FIFA has made very clear in previous official statements and in communication with human rights organisations in the past that it upholds the respect for human rights and the application of international norms of behaviour as a principle and part of all our activities,” the world football governing body said in a statement.
It said that it understood and shared Amnesty International’s efforts to ensure social justice and respect for human rights, adding that such concerns were “very much anchored” in FIFA’s own goals.
“FIFA also expects that the hosts of its competitions fully respect these,” it added.
In a 169-page report Monday, Amnesty said migrant workers were being treated like “animals” and urged FIFA to press Qatar to improve the conditions of foreign labourers, most of whom are from south or southeast Asia.
The Gulf emirate, which rejects claims of slavery-style conditions on its construction sites in the world’s wealthiest nation per capita, said it would include the report’s findings in an inquiry it has already launched.
FIFA underlined that its president, Sepp Blatter, visited Qatar on November 9 and received a “firm commitment” on the issue from its emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“The state of Qatar is aware of various issues and has already started to react,” FIFA said.
It said that Qatari authorities had informed it that emirate’s labour were being amended, and that government inspectors would receive more powers to enforce the legislation.
“FIFA firmly believes in the positive power that the FIFA World Cup can have in Qatar and in the Middle East as a great opportunity for the region to discover football as a platform for positive social change, including an improvement of labour rights and conditions for migrant workers,” it added.