Amnesty International and other rights groups have called on FIFA to set aside $440 million (£356m) to compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights abuses during preparations for the 2022 World Cup.
In a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino, the groups said world football’s governing body should also work with the host nation to protect the rights of migrant workers in the future.
“To remedy the litany of abuses committed since 2010, when FIFA awarded hosting rights to Qatar without requiring any improvement in labour protections, the organisations called on FIFA to at least match the $440m it hands out in prize money at the World Cup,” Amnesty said in a statement.
The Qatar government has said its labour system was still a work in progress but denied accusations made in a previous report by Amnesty that thousands of migrant workers were being exploited.
A 48-page report by Amnesty, Reality Check 2021, said that practices such as withholding salaries and charging workers to change jobs were still rife.
In response to the letter, FIFA said it was assessing the proposition and looking at ways to ensure “closure of all grievances associated with FIFA World Cup projects, including pre-event cases.”
FIFA added that it was working with the organising committee and had already compensated a number of workers.
“Through the recruitment fee reimbursement scheme, for example, both FIFA World Cup and non-FIFA World Cup workers have received payments of a total $22.6m as of December 2021, with an additional $5.7m committed by contractors,” it said. The World Cup will run from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18.