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FIFA advisor: Strip countries of World Cup if human rights abused

A new report commisioned by FIFA has suggested banning countries from hosting international tournaments if they don't abide by human rights.

A study commissioned by soccer's world governing body has stated that countries should be stripped of international tournaments like the World Cup if they are found to violate human rights.

In the wake of constant allegations directed at 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, John Ruggie, Harvard professor of human rights and international affairs, has published a report which states that although FIFA has no direct jurisdiction the concept of threatening to pull the "allure and prestige" of the international tournament away from certain countries would force them to act.

"Where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship," the report said. "The option of ending a relationship itself is an important source of leverage and should be clearly communicated to bidders, suppliers, licensees and other relevant entities."

Ruggie, who also holds an advisory role at the United Nations, states that human rights should already be a precursor to hosting such competitions and the lack of any clear system to judge countries on such an issue highlights the problems within FIFA.

Speaking to the UK-based daily The Guardian, Ruggie said: "FIFA can't impose human rights on countries but in return for hosting a tournament there are certain human rights to which you should have to adhere. If you can't, you have to make tough decisions. That may include having to terminate an existing relationship."

Last month Amnesty International published a 52-page report heavily criticizing Qatar's handling of migrant workers, calling the situation a "stain on the conscience of world football" within an excessive study that included interviews with 132 construction workers and 99 migrant landscapers.

Today's report puts pressure on new FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, who has already stated that the organization was "fully committed to respecting human rights" and that the study would “guide the way forward.”

sb/ (AFP, DPA)

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