FIFA,Qatar 2022 and Human Rights Awareness


Finally the most controversial FIFA world cup in the recent time is starting this weekend; Qatar 2022 has been trailed with issues from the day the mid-eastern nation was announced as the host nation.

FIFA itself did not evade the controversies , as a new documentary released on NETFLIX few days to the world cup dubbed ‘FIFA Uncovered’ has revealed the intricacies of  alleged corrupt practices in the football ruling organisation  and how bribery induced their choice of Qatar as the host nation of the 2022 World Cup.

Activists have raised concern over the human rights record of the nation,   feminists are concerned that FIFA ignored the gender issues in the nation and are taking world cup to a nation where unmarried fans could face a prison time for being pregnant.

In May 2022 Amnesty International recently raised a petition to compel FIFA to pay $ 440 Million dollars which is the equivalent of the World Cup Prize money as compensation to migrant workers in Qatar for human right abuses suffered to ensure that the world cup is a reality.

The abuse of migrant workers in Qatar has not abated, as few weeks to the FIFA World Cup the migrant workers who built the infrastructure to enable the commencement of the tournament in due time ,raised alarm over their continuous ill-treatment by Qatar authorities as they were sent to the streets from their apartments as alleged by some of them ,while the Qatar authorities responds that the migrant workers were  ordered to go to a shelter  in outskirts of the city to make room for soccer fans coming to the World Cup cities.

 “Given the history of human rights abuses in the country, FIFA knew—or should have known—the obvious risks to workers when it awarded the tournament to Qatar. Despite this, there was not a single mention of workers or human rights in its evaluation of the Qatari bid and no conditions were put in place on labour protections. FIFA has since done far too little to prevent or mitigate those risks,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

Amnesty International and a coalition of human rights organizations, unions, and fan groups urged FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino to work with Qatar to establish a comprehensive remediation programme. As well as providing compensation for all labour abuses related to hosting the tournament in Qatar, they should ensure that abuses are not repeated, both in Qatar and in future tournaments.

To remedy the litany of abuses committed since 2010, when FIFA awarded hosting rights to Qatar without requiring any improvement in labour protections, the organizations called on FIFA to at least match the $440m it hands out in prize money at the World Cup.

Sepp Blatter, a former president of FIFA, world football’s governing body, told a Swiss newspaper that, in his opinion, awarding the World Cup to Qatar had been a “mistake”.

There have been countless examples of news and comments from celebrities who have hit out at FIFA’s choice and have blamed the organization for giving more importance to their own monetary gain than to human rights.

Shakira, Rod Stewart , Dua Lipa are some of the notable music acts that have disassociated themselves with reports of their participation in the opening ceremony of the world cup that is to take place this Sunday bringing to spotlight the conflicting human right issues in the oil rich nation.

Around 1.4 million migrant workers are employed in Qatar, providing the human capital for an unprecedented $137bn (£82bn) construction boom designed to position the country for the day when its natural oil and gas reserves run out.

On Monday Cristian Pulisic and the rest of stars of the US Men National Team played a friendly game alongside some migrant stadium construction workers, amid the host nation’s ongoing controversy over human rights violations regarding their labor situation.

Football’s embattled world governing body FIFA is considering a plan to make a country’s human rights record a factor in awarding future tournaments in the wake of a string of concerns over corruption and the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

Those within FIFA responsible for drawing up the new bidding rules are understood to be considering the idea as a result of the global outcry that met reports from human rights groups and the Guardian about the conditions faced by migrant workers in the region.

It has been revealed that FIFA has asked prospective host cities to do something novel – to develop human rights strategies that reflect international human rights standards in a city context. To meet this challenge, the cities have built their proposals around the specific questions provided by FIFA, guidance from independent human rights consultants, and each city’s own assessment, with the input of stakeholders, of its salient or most pressing human rights issues. This process has resulted in highly individual submissions that have taken a range of approaches.

Whichever way it goes, Qatar 2022 World Cup is set to commence and the competing nations are arriving with about 1 million fans expected ,which according to the records is poor for a global competition, and the low fan turn up is blamed on the premise of the lack of guarantees that Qatar have in place to cope with an event that brings together multiple cultures from around the world.

With the wide negative attention that Qatar has drawn on itself, for its alleged abuse of Human rights is considered close to tainting one of the globally accepted sporting events in the world ,  the onus now lies on FIFA to ensure that their future decisions regarding the future of the sport captures the rising concerns of human rights, big kudos to citizens of the world for standing with the alleged victims of abuse in Qatar and raising global consciousness on their human rights.

The Author:

Cookey Iwuoha is Project Coordinator All Africa Media Network, and Convener African Elders and Women Intercultural dialogue, He is a dialogue facilitator, passionate creative writer, poet and published author. Publisher of Nigerian Eye Newspaper, a Young Africa Leadership Initiative (YALI) Alumni, and has participated in other capacity development programs like United Nation Foundation’s Virtual Reporting Fellowship, Centre for Human Rights Certificate on African Human Right System and Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Certificate program among others

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