FIFA: Swiss want justice for foreign workers in Qatar

Workers walk to the Lusail Stadium, one of the 2022 World Cup stadiums, in Lusail, Qatar, Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Swiss citizens want FIFA to compensate foreign workers whose human rights were violated during preparations for the World Cup to be hosted by Qatar in late 2022, according to a poll commissioned by Amnesty International. The Zurich-based world football governing body says measures have already been taken.

This content was published on September 15, 2022 minutes

The survey conducted by YouGov took the opinion of more than 17,000 people in 15 countries. Globally, the demand is supported by nearly three-quarters (73%) of participants, according to a Thursday statement issued by Amnesty International. It notes that support is even greater among people who say they would like to attend at least one World Cup match – 86% in Switzerland.

It also found that a clear majority of respondents want their national soccer federations to speak out publicly on human rights issues associated with the Qatar 2022 World Cup. In Switzerland, 70% of respondents want the Swiss Football Association (SFA) to take a stand.

"Fans do not want a World Cup indelibly stained by human rights violations," said Lisa Salza, head of the Sport and Human Rights campaign for Amnesty International Switzerland.

For its part, FIFA – in a statement issued the same day – indicates that a "wide range of measures" have already been taken in recent years to improve worker protection in Qatar. It adds these developments have occurred largely because of the World Cup and under pressure from FIFA.

Workers have also been "compensated in various ways when companies have not complied with the rules applied by FIFA and the host country to ensure the protection of the workers involved," the sports federation said.

Qatari authorities are regularly criticised by international NGOs for the treatment of hundreds of thousands of workers, particularly from Asia, at the major construction sites for the 2022 World Cup, which is scheduled to begin November 20.

But Doha defends itself by stressing that it has taken measures to improve conditions for foreign workers, imposing a minimum wage and banning employers from preventing their workers from leaving the country or changing jobs.

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