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Corrupt FIFA condones slave-like conditions for Qatar workers - Lynn Boylan MEP

27 May, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Responding to revelations tonight of serious corruption and bribery in football's governing body, FIFA, stretching back 20 years, Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has demanded a re-run of the vote that selected Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup.

Ms Boylan said:

"It seemed inconceivable in 2010 that FIFA would select Qatar, a country with summer temperatures of 45 degrees, as the host of the 2022 World Cup.

"But it has been even more astonishing that FIFA has ignored the calls from human rights organisations and the international trade union movement to relocate the tournament as a result of the appalling, slave-like conditions migrant workers constructing the stadiums are forced to endure.

"Tonight it has emerged that FIFA officials are alleged to have accepted bribes and kickbacks - for the award of the World Cup and to rig elections - worth more than US$150m over the past 24 years.

Such deep-seated corruption within the organisation would at last explain its inexplicable decision to grant Qatar the World Cup.

"The Play Fair Qatar NGO, which campaigns for the rights of the mainly Nepalese migrant workers in Qatar, has stated that a shocking 62 construction workers building World Cup infrastructure will die for every game played during the 2022 tournament.

"Already hundreds are dying each year. Young migrant workers are literally being worked to death on the stadiums and the cause of death is often heart failure.

"Earlier this month Human Rights Watch produced a report that described the kafala system -which binds the migrant worker to their employer, making them vulnerable to severe exploitation for fear of being deported - as modern-day slavery. Many employers confiscate the passports of workers upon their arrival in Qatar.

Ms. Boylan continued:

"There are now more than 1.4 million migrant workers in Qatar, around 94% of the overall population. They are housed in over-crowded and unsanitary labour camps, and the right to strike or form a union is prohibited.

"FIFA's silence on this appalling exploitation has been deafening. Corruption was always suspected but tonight's revelations add a lot of weight to this suspicion, and I welcome the fact that the process by which the 2022 tournament host was selected is now to be investigated.

"And it is not enough for Qatar to make vague assurances that it will improve these conditions at some unspecified time in the future.

"In light of the evidence that exists of slave-like conditions for workers, and these new revelations of FIFA corruption, there is only one viable option - to re-run the vote for the 2022 World Cup."

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