The Hypocrisy World Cup? FIFA sponsors must tell Qatar to play fair on workers' human rights
62 workers may lose their lives for each game played during Qatar’s 2022 World Cup, a tournament likely to be sponsored by FIFA partner companies Coke, VISA, McDonald’s, Adidas, Kia and Hyundai. Without sponsorship, this multi-billion dollar tournament couldn’t take place.
Due to poor health & safety, shocking living conditions and almost total absence of rights, more than 4,000 of Qatar’s workers will die before the first ball is kicked. Hundreds have already died through a combination of accidents, heart attacks and suicide. Because of Qatar’s laws, migrant workers are trapped with a single employer, barred from changing jobs or even leaving the country without permission. Wages are paid sometimes months late, leaving trapped workers starving. Labour courts are costly and complicated, with little language assistance, and workers are banned from forming or joining trade unions to negotiate better conditions.
There has been almost no pressure from FIFA to fix this, nor have sponsors taken a stand, despite their professed commitment to human rights and workers’ welfare.
Most sponsors commit themselves to respecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights – which guarantees the right to join a union - and have specific policies banning forced labour and slavery in their supply chains. However, none of them seem to have considered that paying FIFA to host a tournament built on slave labour goes against everything they claim to believe in.
As a customer or potential customer of these multinational companies, can you help us pressure them to live up to their own ethical standards in how they spend their sponsorship funding?
We know money talks in FIFA. If one of these sponsors were to speak up it would be hugely influential in guiding FIFA and Qatar into ensuring that labour standards for people preparing the country to host the World Cup meet international standards of safety, decency and human rights.