England FINALLY speak out on Qatar workers' rights

England FINALLY speak out on Qatar workers' rights

England FINALLY speak out on Qatar’s human rights record ahead of the World Cup and vow to meet migrant workers – but FA’s limp statement has no comment from Gareth Southgate… and only protest is a rainbow armband for Harry Kane

  • Football Association has commented on worker rights ahead of World Cup
  • Immigrant migrant labour was brought in by Qatar to build infrastructure
  • Workers have been killed by toiling in 40C heat to build stadiums and transport
  • FA has called on all those killed or injured or their families to be compensated
  • They have also called for the creation of a Migrant Workers’ Centre 
  • Kane will wear a ‘OneLove’ rainbow captain’s armband in upcoming matches 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

England have finally broken their silence on the abuse of migrant workers in Qatar with Football Association chiefs vowing to lobby FIFA over new labour protection laws.

Migrant workers who have helped build the stadiums and infrastructure ahead of this winter’s World Cup finals will be invited to England’s base and will speak with players.

The FA has called for any worker injury or death on construction projects to be compensated and will lobby for a Migrant Workers’ Centre to be created in Qatar.

An investigation by Sportsmail last year found immigrant workers in Qatar were being paid just £12-a-day to work 11-hour shifts in burning temperatures exceeding 100°F (38°C).

Amnesty International has called upon FIFA to establish a compensation fund of at least £350million for workers who have suffered ‘human rights abuses’ – this sum is equivalent to the prize money pot for the World Cup.

But the FA’s statement included no comment from England manager Gareth Southgate and the only visible form of protest will be Harry Kane wearing a rainbow ‘OneLove’ captain’s armband.   

England players will meet migrant workers deployed on Qatar’s World Cup construction projects when they come to the country for the tournament in November

England captain Harry Kane will wear a rainbow ‘OneLove’ armband in upcoming matches

Kane will join the captains of Holland, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales in the anti-discrimination gesture, starting with Friday’s UEFA Nations League match against Italy in Milan.

The ‘OneLove’ campaign was originally the idea of the Dutch team. 

Kane said: ‘I am honoured to join my fellow national team captains in supporting the important OneLove campaign. 

‘As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we stand together against all forms of discrimination. 

‘This is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.’ 

The Lusail Stadium in Doha, which will host the final of the World Cup on December 18

All eight of the host stadiums are in and around the Qatari capital city of Doha 

The FA statement continued: ‘For more than a year, The FA has been in dialogue with numerous human rights organisations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations [NGOs] to prepare for Qatar 2022, in order to get a balanced understanding of the key issues in the country and wider region.

‘Whilst understanding that there is still progress to be made in many areas domestically, the goal has been to learn how to best use our position as a national footballing governing body while ensuring the wellbeing of England fans, players and the support team.

‘In addition, representatives of The FA have visited the country several times – including as part of the UEFA Working Group on Qatar – and have had regular conversations with local authorities, migrant workers, charities, and organisations on the ground to better understand their day-to-day experiences and challenges.

‘The FA’s position is that any injury or death related to any construction project should be compensated and the World Cup is no different.

‘Equally The FA is supportive of the concept of a Migrant Workers’ Centre, and have lobbied FIFA for an urgent update on progress.

‘After the implementation of progressive legislation to give workers rights, the concept of a centre is to ensure that this legislation is implemented, and that there is awareness of the new labour laws and legal support where required.

‘The FA has also been consistently clear that the companies it partners with in Qatar must meet the required standards regarding workers’ rights and provide strong and rightful support to their employees.

‘The FA’s representatives continue to visit the country regularly to speak directly with service providers, as well as liaising with FIFA, which allocates many of the services used by competing teams as the tournament organisers.’

The countdown clock for the Qatar World Cup, which will get underway on November 20

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said: ‘We are coming together as a group to wear the OneLove armband until the end of the season as a visible show of support for inclusion in football – something we strongly believe in and have consistently supported.

‘Along with the other members of the UEFA Working Group on Human rights, we are pushing FIFA for an update on the concept of a Migrant Workers’ Centre in Qatar, to provide advice and help for migrant workers. 

‘It is clear that Qatar has brought in progressive legislation in the last few years to give workers rights, so this concept will help this legislation to take effect. We have met a variety of workers in Qatar on our visits to the country and whilst they recognise the substantial progress there are areas in which further support would make a huge difference.

‘We continue to push for the principle of compensation for the families of migrant workers who have lost their lives or have been injured in construction projects. 

‘Again, we are pushing FIFA for an update on the compensation fund which has been consistently referenced as a safety net where workers and their families have been unable to secure compensation from the construction companies.’ 

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