FIFA World Cup: All sponsors should support reparations for migrant workers

Majority of survey respondents say companies should back call for compensation for migrant workers

The partner companies and sponsors of the International Football Federation (FIFA) for the 2022 World Cup should pressure FIFA and the Qatari government to provide compensation and other remedies to migrant workers and their families in the event of death, injury , unpaid wages or debts due to illegal recruitment fees during the preparation of the competition, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FairSquare said today.

The call comes as a recent global opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International shows that two-thirds (66%) of respondents, and 72% of those likely to watch at least one the World Cup, said corporate partners and FIFA sponsors should publicly ask FIFA to compensate migrant workers harmed during the preparations for the World Cup in Qatar. The poll was conducted by YouGov among 17,477 adults in 15 countries.

In July, the three human rights organizations writing to the 14 corporate partners of FIFA and sponsors of the World Cup to ask them to intervene with the footballing authority so that it addresses the abuses committed against migrant workers in the context of the preparations for the competition. Four companies – AB InBev/Budweiser, Adidas, Coca Cola and McDonald’s – have since said they support such financial compensation. But ten other sponsors, Visa, Hyundai-Kia, Wanda Group, Qatar Energy, qatarairways, live, Hisense, Mengniu, Crypto and Byju’shave neither publicly expressed their support for this initiative nor responded to written requests for dialogue regarding abuses related to the preparations for the World Cup.

“Companies buy the World Cup sponsorship rights because they want their brands to be associated with the joy, fair play and spectacular human feats on the pitch – not the widespread theft of employees and the death of those workers who made the World Cup possible,” said Minky Worden, director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch. “With just two months until the competition kicks off, the sponsors should use their considerable influence to pressure FIFA and Qatar to meet their human rights responsibilities towards these workers. »

In addition to World Cup sponsors, national football associations should also use their influence and call on FIFA and the Qatari authorities to make a public commitment to set up a compensation fund to remedy the serious abuses committed against migrant workers who made it possible to hold the FIFA world. FIFA should also support and contribute financially to initiatives that aim to help and support migrant workers, such as the Migrant Workers’ Center advocated by Building and Woodworkers’ International.

Sponsor responses

Here are the responses from the four sponsors indicating their support for reparations for workers:

  • AB InBev/Budweiser, the official beer sponsor for the FIFA World Cup in 2022, has released a communicated containing this statement: “We support access to procedures that will allow aggrieved migrant workers to obtain fair remedies”.
  • Adidas published a communicated expressing its “support” for FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatari body in charge of the organization of the World Cup, to tackle “all issues relating to the rights of workers arising from the organization of the 2022 World Cup, including the actions to be taken to remedy the situation and, where appropriate, to compensate workers whose claims have not been resolved, as well as their families”.
  • Coca Cola responded to human rights groups by declaring continue “its discussions with sponsors and FIFA to explore the best ways to consolidate the progress made in Qatar and expand access to effective reparations for migrant workers” and “encourage FIFA to build on efforts to date to integrate respect for human rights into the life cycle of this World Cup and those beyond, including effective structures to support reparations”
  • McDonald’s has writing “We will continue to work with FIFA, human rights experts and other sponsors to help drive positive human rights change, including by supporting processes that facilitate access to redress, both around the competition only in the communities we serve”.

Ten other World Cup sponsors and FIFA partners did not respond, although they have otherwise developed policies to uphold human rights and environmental, social and governance standards in their operations. and their business relationships. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights list the responsibilities incumbent on all companies in respect of human rights, in particular by using their influence on their business partners to prevent or mitigate the negative effects of their activities on human rights.

Need to provide reparations

In recent years, Qatar has introduced a series of reforms important following a forced labor complaint filed with the International Labor Organization, and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has proposed enhanced protections for those working on stadium construction. Nevertheless, serious labor rights abuses persist across the country and past abuses have not been adequately addressed.

In a report published in May, Amnesty International showed that FIFA failed to carry out human rights due diligence when awarding the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, even though the risks to workers were well-documented, and that it has not taken effective and prompt action to mitigate these risks.

On May 19, a global coalition of migrant rights groups, trade unions, supporter groups, survivors of abuse and human rights organizations called FIFA to set up with Qatar a comprehensive program aimed at remedying all abuses related to the 2022 World Cup. To finance this program, FIFA should set aside an amount at least equivalent to the US$440 million United awarded to teams participating in the competition. With two months to go before the World Cup kicks off, FIFA has yet to commit to addressing the abuses and says it is still considering the proposal.

“There is nothing Qatar or FIFA can do to repair the loss of a loved one,” said Nick McGeehan, director and founder of FairSquare, which investigates migrant labor abuses. “But offering financial redress to families struggling following the death of a migrant worker could provide them with a financial reprieve and potentially reduce longer-term damage. »

Build on existing mechanisms

Human Rights Watch has documented the fact that compensation could have considerable benefits for migrant workers and their families.

Since 2018, the Qatari authorities have put in place measures to protect workers against the theft of their wages and to improve access to justice, but these measures do not cover all workers and do not address the abuses committed in the years preceding the establishment of these devices. Significant shortcomings also remain in the implementation and enforcement of these measures. For example, workers who have already left Qatar cannot access working committees or to the fund created to pay them if their employers do not.

Sponsors, Professional Football Associations (FA) and FIFA should use their leverage in Qatar and pressure the authorities to develop and strengthen the systems and existing compensation schemes in the country and, if warranted by the large number of past abuses, to put in place effective complementary mechanisms to remedy any unrepaired harm.

VScontext of the survey

YouGov surveyed 17,477 adults in Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, UK United and United States. Of these people, 54% said they were likely to watch at least one World Cup game.

Unless otherwise stated, all figures are from YouGov. The sample was 17,477 adults. The fieldwork was conducted from August 16 to September 6, 2022. The survey was conducted online. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+) in the countries surveyed.

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“The corporate sponsors of the event have paid FIFA over $1 billion to be associated with the 2022 World Cup and do not want their brand to be tarnished by human rights abuses,” said Stephen Cockburn. , Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International.

“What the public and the customers of these sponsors expect of them is clear: to defend the rights of workers in Qatar and demand compensation for every worker who has suffered to make this competition happen. »

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