FIFA Requests Update on Working Conditions at 2022 World Cup Sites

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2014

COSTA DO SAUIPE, BAHIA - DECEMBER 05:  FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter attends the FIFA Executive Committee Meeting Press Conference during a media day ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Draw at Costa do Sauipe Resort on December 5, 2013 in Costa do Sauipe, Brazil.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Qatar continues to come under fire for the working conditions migrant laborers face during the development of stadiums being built for the 2022 World Cup. Now, FIFA has requested further information about the worrisome situation.   

A media release posted on the association's official site states secretary general Jerome Valcke sent a letter to the nation's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is handling the project, seeking an update by Feb. 12, 2014.

FIFA representative Dr. Theo Zwanziger will then use the information for meetings with the European Parliament and FIFA Executive Committee in the coming months.

Zwanziger said work is being done to improve the situation for workers:

We are currently in the middle of an intensive process, which is exclusively aimed at improving the situation of workers in Qatar. Ultimately, what we need are clear rules and steps that will build trust and ensure that the situation, which is unacceptable at the moment, improves in a sustainable manner.

The meeting with European Parliament is scheduled for Feb. 13, and the FIFA Executive Committee will review the report in late March.

FIFA contends the World Cup preparations can still lead to a positive impact on the conditions in Qatar by improving rights for migrant workers.

LUSAIL CITY, QATAR:  In this handout illustration provided by Qatar 2022, the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee today unveiled detailed plans for the iconic Lusail Stadium. With a capacity in excess of 86,000 and surrounded by water,  the stadium would host the Wo
Handout/Getty Images

The request comes shortly after the working conditions in the country were labeled as having "extreme risk" by global risk consultancy Maplecroft. Katy Barnato of CNBC reports the downgrade comes following deaths at work sites and increased attention on the nation.

Barnato notes 185 Nepalese migrants, which were placed in situations likened to slavery, died during the World Cup construction last year. Maplecroft also included in its review the fact allegations of forced labor were on the rise:

"Allegations of forced labor in Qatar have increased, as scrutiny from the media and NGOs (non-governmental organizations) has intensified."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter spoke about the situation back in November, calling the conditions at that time "unacceptable." CNN provided his full statement:

Economic and political leaders must contribute to improving the unacceptable situation in Qatar. I am convinced that Qatar is taking the situation very seriously. These very discussions about Qatar show just what an important role football can play in generating publicity and thus bringing about change.

With eight years until the World Cup, there's still ample time for the conditions to improve as FIFA suggests. Yet, the reports coming out of Qatar don't provide the same sense of optimism, which likely explains why the governing body is seeking an update.  

The timeline provided by FIFA gives the Qatar committee two weeks to provide the status report.