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

A majority of respondents say companies should support demands for compensation for migrant workers

Corporate partners and sponsors of the International Football Association (FIFA) for the 2022 World Cup should pressure FIFA and the government of Qatar to provide compensation and other remedies to migrant workers and their families in the event of death, injury, unpaid wages or debts related to illegal recruitment fees during the Preparations for the contest, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FairSquare announced today.

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

In July, the three human rights organizations wrote to FIFA’s 14 corporate partners and World Cup sponsors, urging them to intervene with the Football Association to address abuses against migrant workers in the run-up to the competition. Four companies – AB InBev/Budweiser, Adidas, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s – have since said they support such monetary compensation. But ten other sponsors, Visa, Hyundai-Kia, Wanda Group, Qatar Energy, Qatar Airways, Vivo, Hisense, Mengniu, Crypto and Byju’s, have not publicly stated their support for the initiative, nor have they responded to written inquiries from the dialogue about related abuses reacts World Cup preparations.

“Companies buy the World Cup sponsorship rights because they want their brands to be associated with the joy, fair play and spectacular human achievements on the pitch – not with the widespread theft of employees and the deaths of the workers who support the.” made WM possible,” said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. “With only two months left until the start of the competition, the sponsors should use their considerable influence to put pressure on FIFA and Qatar to fulfill 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 publicly commit to setting up a compensation fund to address the World Cup’s grave abuses against the migrant workers that made it possible to hold the World Championship. FIFA should also support and fund initiatives aimed at helping and supporting migrant workers, such as the Migrant Workers’ Center endorsed by Building and Woodworkers’ International.

Responses from sponsors

Here are the responses from the four sponsors expressing their support for Worker Compensation:

  • AB InBev/Budweiser, the official beer sponsor for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, issued a statement with this statement: “We support access to procedures that enable aggrieved migrant workers to receive fair redress”.
  • Adidas issued a statement expressing its “support” for FIFA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the Qatari body responsible for organizing the World Cup, to “address any issues related to workers’ rights that arise from of the organization of the 2022 World Cup, including measures to remedy the situation and, where appropriate, to compensate workers whose claims have not been settled and their families.
  • Coke Human rights groups responded, saying it was “continuing its discussions with sponsors and FIFA to find the best ways to consolidate the progress made in Qatar and expand access to effective legal remedies for migrant workers and “encouraging FIFA to build efforts to date to integrate respect for human rights into the life cycle of this World Cup and beyond, including effective structures to support reparations”
  • MC Donalds wrote: “We will continue to work with FIFA, human rights experts and other sponsors to drive positive change in human rights, including by supporting processes that facilitate access to remedies, both competitive and public communities we serve.

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

have to make amends

In recent years, Qatar has introduced a number of significant reforms after a forced labor complaint was lodged with the International Labor Organization, and the Supreme Committee on Delivery and Inheritance has proposed enhanced protections for those working in stadium construction. However, serious labor rights violations persist across the country and previous violations have not been adequately addressed.

In a report published in May, Amnesty International demonstrated that FIFA failed to carry out human rights due diligence in awarding Qatar the 2010 World Cup, despite well-documented risks to workers, and failed to take prompt and effective mitigation action these risks.

On May 19, a global coalition of migrant rights groups, trade unions, support groups, assault survivors and human rights organizations called on FIFA to work with Qatar to create a comprehensive program to address all assaults related to the 2022 World Cup and to fund that program should FIFA set aside an amount of at least US$440 million to be awarded to teams participating in the competition. Two months before the start of the World Cup, FIFA has yet to commit to cracking down on the abuses and says it is still considering the proposal.

“There is nothing Qatar or FIFA can do to make up for the loss of a loved one,” said Nick McGeehan, director and founder of FairSquare, which investigates abuses against migrant workers. “But offering financial redress to families struggling after the death of a migrant worker could give them financial respite and potentially reduce longer-term damage. »

Build on existing mechanisms

Human Rights Watch has documented that compensation can have significant benefits for migrant workers and their families.

Since 2018, the Qatari authorities have taken measures to protect workers from wage theft and improve access to justice, but these measures do not cover all workers and do not address workplace abuses. Significant shortcomings also remain in the implementation and enforcement of these measures. For example, workers who have already left Qatar do not have access to labor committees or the fund set up to pay them unless their employers do so.

Sponsors, Professional Football Associations (FA) and FIFA should use their influence in Qatar and put pressure on the authorities to develop and strengthen existing systems and reparations regimes in the country, where warranted, in order to deal with a large number of victims in the abuses committed in the past so that they put in place effective complementary mechanisms to remedy any unrepaired damage.

vscontext of the survey

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

Unless otherwise noted, all figures are from YouGov. The sample included 17,477 adults. Fieldwork was conducted from August 16 to September 6, 2022. The survey was conducted online. The numbers 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 affairs social justice at Amnesty International.

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

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