The president of the Norwegian Football Association, Lise Klaveness, did not hold back in her criticism of the International Football Association (FIFA) when she stood on the podium in Qatar on Saturday.
Klaveness criticized FIFA’s handling when they awarded the championship to Qatar in 2010, and how football has not been responsible for the conditions of migrant workers and human rights violations.
On Thursday, Amnesty also issued a disappointing report on working conditions in Qatar.
Three of the eight security companies that Amnesty has been in contact with have been used by the International Football Association (Fifa). One of these companies is still used, Amnesty claims in the report.
Several of the companies have documented forced labor. Employees must work involuntarily and are threatened if they break the company’s strict rules, writes NRK.
– When we find it so easy that they do not work according to the law, it shows that they have not done their job. They have hardly done a job, and that shows how important it is to put pressure on Fifa, says Amnesty Secretary General John Peder Egenæs to the channel.
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Forced to work
The report points out that security guards were forced to work under conditions that are referred to as forced labor. The limit of 60 working hours per week was regularly broken, and employees were not given time off for months or years.
In addition, the workers receive different wages depending on which country they come from, and they are deducted from their wages if they are ill.
– We have talked to 59 workers and none of them say that “with us it is just fine”. Instead, they talk about miserable living conditions, forced labor and work outdoors in extreme heat in the summer, Egenæs tells VG.
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Fifa: does not accept abuse
About 85 percent of the workers in the security sector work at least twelve hours a day, and this is the case with Qatari security companies that Fifa has used.
– Fifa does not accept any form of abuse of workers in companies involved in the preparations for the World Cup 2022, Fifa responds to the criticism.
A spokesperson says that inspections have been carried out. These revealed problems that have been addressed. Fifa writes to NRK that “we are not afraid to take strong action against such companies in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor”.
Qatar admits breach
Qatar admits that workers were exploited while working for Fifa in the preparations for the World Cup, writes the news agency AP.
– These breaches are completely unacceptable and led to a number of measures, such as several companies being listed on a supervisory list and a blacklist to avoid working on future projects, including for Fifa, it is said in a statement from the World Cup organizer.
– Falls on its own unreasonableness
Critical of Amnesty
However, Qatar’s Ministry of Labor believes that Amnesty is selective in what cases are brought to light and does not mention the “thousands of success stories that serve as evidence of Qatar’s progress”.
– Qatar has repeatedly said that systematic reform is a long-term process and changing the behavior of all companies takes time. The reality is that no other country has come this far, so fast, but for some the pace of change will not be fast enough, the ministry writes in an email to NRK.