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Amnesty International Wants $440M from FIFA to Compensate Qatar World Cup Workers

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 19, 2022

KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images

Multiple human rights groups, including Amnesty International, sent a letter to FIFA seeking $440 million in compensation for migrant workers who helped prepare Qatar for the 2022 men's World Cup.

Reuters reported Thursday the letter sent to FIFA president Gianni Infantino accused Qatar of "human rights abuses linked to the World Cup" and seeks reforms to protect future workers.

"FIFA and Qatar should therefore work together with trade unions, the ILO [International Labour Organization] and civil society to put in place a comprehensive and participatory program to provide remedy for all abuses related to the 2022 World Cup," the letter reads.

Qatar's labor ministry told Reuters the country set up a Workers' Support and Insurance Fund that has already paid out $136.4 million to workers over the past two years.

"The new report undermines much of the goodwill that has been generated," the labor ministry said. "Engagement will always yield better results than condemnation, especially when they are unreasonably demanded."

FIFA said it has worked to help repay workers who were told they had to pay illegal recruitment fees to secure jobs, with $22.6 million paid out by the governing body as of December. There have also been allegations of withheld salaries and fees for changing jobs.

The sport's governing body told Reuters it will implement an "unprecedented due diligence process in relation to the protection of workers involved" based on the letter from human rights groups.

In April, Liam Killingstad of Front Office Sports reported Qatar was on pace to spend $220 billion on the World Cup, which is far higher than the previous record of $15 billion spent by Brazil in 2014.

Abuse of workers has been linked to the use of the Kafala system, which "ties migrant workers to a specific employer or sponsor who then monitors them and is usually responsible for their visa and legal status" and has led to "systemic abuse," per Killingstad.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to begin Nov. 21 and will run through Dec. 18.

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