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FIFA face action over 'mistreatment of workers'

October 10, 2016

FIFA could be sued over its alleged complicity in the mistreatment of migrant workers hired for the 2022 World Cup. Newspaper reports say the beleaguered organization is facing legal action in the Swiss courts.


According to a story published by the English newspaper "The Guardian" and reported in a number of other outlets, a legal challenge has been brought by the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) on behalf of a Bangladeshi migrant worker called Nadim Sharaful Alam.

A letter sent to FIFA has reportedly given President Gianni Infantino three weeks to accept his organization's complicity and pay damages before the case will be taken to court.

Alam is thought to be seeking a relatively small amount, about 5,000 euros (5,500 US dollars), but should he be successful, it could open the door to hundreds of thousands of migrant workers to make similar claims and cost FIFA millions.

Since awarding their flagship tournament to the Gulf nation in 2010, FIFA has faced a barrage of criticism ranging from the heat in which the players are expected to play and FIFA's failure to demand the abolition of the 'kafala' system, which makes migrant workers beholden to an in-country sponsor, to a string of corruption allegations.

The letter demands that football's global governing body "acknowledge that it has acted wrongfully by awarding the World Cup 2022 to Qatar without demanding the assurance that Qatar observes fundamental human and labour rights vis-à-vis migrant construction workers whose work is related to the 2022 World Cup."

An Amnesty International report found that migrant workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal were being exploited in a number of ways, including appalling living conditions, threats and lies about salaries.

For their part, FIFA have repeatedly argued that they are not responsible for any societal problems in the countries where they hold their tournaments.

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