“By calling for a ‘focus on football’, Gianni Infantino tries to absolve FIFA of all responsibility”

LOn Sunday, November 20, 2022, FIFA President Gianni Infantino will take his place in his chair to watch the opening match of the 2022 World Cup, which pits hosts Qatar against Ecuador at the stadium. the most modern Al-Bayt, in Doha. Of the seven halls built specifically for the tournament, this is the crown jewel of a massive development project that has transformed the Qatari capital and its surroundings since 2010, when FIFA awarded the country the World Cup.

At an estimated cost of €200 billion, the infrastructure, including training centres, hotels and highways, has been built in anticipation of the arrival of 1.5 million fans for what is undoubtedly the biggest sporting event in the world.

For the millions of migrant workers who made this project a reality, the price to pay was also very high. This is especially the case of the Nepalese Tula Bahadur Gharti, who died in his sleep at the age of 34 in November 2020 after working for more than 10 hours at a construction site in temperatures that rose to 39°C. His wife Bipana never got any explanation of what happened to her husband. According to the death certificate issued by the Qatari authorities, Tul Bahadur Gharti, who had no medical history, died on “natural causes”.

Working conditions that amount to forced labor

In May 2022, Amnesty International and 24 civil society organizations and trade unions wrote to Gianni Infantino asking him to establish a reparations program for victims of human rights violations, such as Gharti and Bipana. Behind the glittering facade that Qatar will present to the world from November 20, stories of suffering like theirs are countless.

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The facts, which have been widely documented by Amnesty International and other organizations: hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, mainly from Africa, South and Southeast Asia, are victims of exploitation and abuse of general labor. These violations included excessive recruitment fees, working conditions that amounted to forced labor, lost and unpaid wages, and long periods of work without a day off. Like the death of Tul Bahadur Gharti, thousands of deaths of migrant workers remain unexplained.

Also listen Ecology, human rights, corruption: why the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a problem

Amnesty International’s appeal for compensation is attracting a growing list of supporters, including the football associations of England, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United States, Sponsors of the World Cup are Coca-Cola, Adidas, Budweiser and McDonald’s, and in addition the video went viral in October, the Australian national team. According to a global survey commissioned by Amnesty International, 84% of potential World Cup viewers are in favor of this fee proposal.

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