Majority of fans want FIFA to compensate migrant workers from Qatar – Amnesty

A majority of football fans from 15 countries would support FIFA compensating migrant workers in Qatar for human rights abuses during the country’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

A YouGov survey of more than 17,000 fans from 15 countries – including 10 Europeans – commissioned by Amnesty showed that 73% of respondents would support the proposal and 10% would oppose it.

More than two-thirds of respondents (67%) also said their national football associations should speak out publicly on human rights issues surrounding the World Cup in Qatar and seek compensation for migrant workers.

“People around the world are united in their desire to see FIFA step in and redress the suffering endured by migrant workers in Qatar,” said Steve Cockburn, Economic and Social Justice Manager at Amnesty International.

“The past cannot be undone, but a compensation program is a clear and simple way for FIFA and Qatar to offer at least some measure of redress to the hundreds of thousands of workers who made this tournament possible.”

FIFA said a wide range of measures had been implemented in recent years to improve worker protection in Qatar.

“FIFA takes note of the survey carried out on behalf of Amnesty International, with respondents from 10 countries in Europe and five countries from the rest of the world,” the governing body said in a statement.

“Respondents may not be fully aware of the measures implemented in recent years by FIFA and its partners in Qatar to protect workers involved in the organization of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

In May, Amnesty and other rights groups called on FIFA to set aside $440 million to compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights abuses.

FIFA had said in May that it was evaluating Amnesty’s proposal and had already compensated a number of workers, who received $22.6 million in December 2021.

Qatar’s government said its labor system was still ongoing, but denied a 2021 Amnesty report that said thousands of migrant workers were still being exploited.

Amnesty also called on FIFA and Qatar to set up a reparations program to reimburse unpaid wages, recruitment fees paid by hundreds of thousands of workers, and compensation for injuries and deaths.

“The program should be established and a first meeting organized between the main stakeholders before the tournament kicks off on November 20, 2022,” Amnesty said, adding that workers and unions should be involved in the program.

“The program should also support initiatives to protect workers’ rights in the future.”