Amnesty International’s secretary general has called out FIFA's president Gianni Infantino for his comments on the human rights issues in Qatar ahead of the World Cup. The secretary-general also wants FIFA to take major steps efforts towards creating a compensation package for migrant workers who suffered abuses in Qatar during the construction of the stadiums for the World Cup.
Agnès Callamard criticised Infantino’s letter where he urged the teams they should ‘focus on the football’ rather than raising their voice against the human rights issues in Qatar. “Infantino’s letter is a crass attempt at shirking Fifa’s culpability,” Callamard said.
She also wants FIFA to put forth a ‘cast-iron commitment’ so the “abused workers will be compensated and that programmes to prevent further abuses are funded”, adding that such a package would go “a long way towards helping victims and their families rebuild their lives”.
Infantino’s letter has also enraged human rights groups and football leaders across the world. Hence, England and Wales released a statement saying they would continue the campaign on the off-pitch issues. “Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere,” they said in a joint statement with eight other European football associations.
But despite these actions, FIFA and the Qatari authorities have continued to shun away any measures take by teams to throw light on the issues. Last week, the Danish football association revealed that Fifa had disallowed its players to practice at the World Cup in shirts with the words “human rights for all” on them “due to technical reasons”.
Callamard’s comments on Infantino and FIFA come six months after Amnesty and 24 other rights groups wrote to the global football authority to create a remediation programme for the abuses suffered by workers in Qatar.
The rights groups have stated that hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, the majority from the south and south-east Asia and Africa, have suffered 'rampant labour abuses' including 'extortionate recruitment fees, conditions amounting to forced labour, lost and unpaid wages, and long hours without days off'.