World Cup Sponsor Visa Presses FIFA on Qatar Worker Conditions

  • Qatar using migrant workers to build stadiums for 2022 event
  • BBC reporter detained in Qatar while looking into conditions
World Cup sponsor Visa Inc. told global soccer governing body FIFA it has “grave concerns” about reports of abuses of migrant workers building stadiums for the 2022 event in Qatar.

“We continue to be troubled by the reports coming out of Qatar related to the World Cup and migrant worker conditions,” Visa said in a statement on its website. “We have expressed our grave concern to FIFA and urge them to take all necessary actions to work with the appropriate authorities and organizations to remedy this situation and ensure the health and safety of all involved.”
Visa, the world’s biggest bank-card network, last year extended its deal with FIFA to the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 edition in Qatar.
A reporter for the British Broadcasting Corp. was arrested and imprisoned in Qatar for several days earlier this month while trying to report on the conditions some of the 1.4 million migrant have to work under. He’s been released.
Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, told a news conference organized by pressure group #NewFIFANow earlier this week in London that Qatar is “a slave state” which denies basic human rights to its 1.4 million workers.
Visa issued a similarly worded statement in November, when it told FIFA to “act accordingly and take swift action” after it received criticism regarding bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. In May 2011, Visa asked FIFA to “take all necessary steps to resolve the concerns that have been raised” amid a corruption scandal at FIFA.

Earlier this year, FIFA agreed to switch the 2022 event to November and December to avoid temperatures of as high as 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in the desert state’s summer. At the same time, FIFA said it would triple payments to teams for releasing players to $209 million after some complained the date change would disrupt domestic championships. European leagues could seek damages too.

FIFA executives in 2010 voted 14-8 to hold the tournament in June and July in Qatar, the world richest country by capita, even after a FIFA report found holding matches there in the summer months could endanger the health of players and spectators.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter is facing three candidates -- Dutch soccer head Michael van Praag, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al Hussein, and former Real Madrid player Luis Figo -- in a May 29 vote. The 79-year-old Swiss citizen is trying for a fifth term.

For Related News and Information:

Top Sports Stories:ISPOUSPO

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE