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FIFA's Blatter backs EU calls on Qatar workers

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FIFA President Joseph Blatter has backed calls from the EU Parliament condemning the exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar, but he also said Europe bears responsibility for the working conditions at the 2022 World Cup sites.

Blatter said on Friday that there is a need to investigate what has happened in Qatar regarding the alleged abuses of the migrant workers, who are preparing venues for the tournament.

However, Blatter also underscored that major European companies are operating in Qatar and that both France and Germany lobbied hard for the Gulf nation to be given the games “because of so many economic interests.”

“It’s easy to say all the responsibilities lie on FIFA. No, no, we are part of this responsibility,” said Blatter.

This comes as football’s governing body has come under pressure over the sporting event.

On Thursday, the European Parliament called on FIFA to “send a clear and strong message to Qatar to avoid the football World Cup 2022 (being) delivered by the assistance of modern slavery”.

The Persian Gulf state has been urged to put an end to the exploitation of migrant workers, as it is implementing a multi-billion-dollar construction program as part of preparations for the international football tournament.

Amnesty International said in a report on November 20 that workers suffer “alarming” levels of exploitation such as dangerous working condition and non-payment of wages in Qatar’s construction sector ahead of the important sport event.

The rights group conducted interviews with 210 workers, employers and government officials for its report, called the Dark Side of Migration.

“It is simply inexcusable in one of the richest countries in the world that so many migrant workers are being ruthlessly exploited, deprived of their pay and left struggling to survive,” Amnesty’s Secretary General Salil Shetty said.


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