FIFA president Gianni Infantino believes a “strong commitment” to ensure labour reforms are fully implemented is being shown by the government in Qatar, where the World Cup will be staged in November.
Infantino met with Qatar Minister of Labour, Dr. Ali bin Samikh Al Marri in Doha, one day after FIFA held discussions with Amnesty International regarding ongoing concerns over migrant workers in the Persian Gulf state.
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“I am pleased to see the strong commitment from the Qatari authorities to ensure the reforms are fully implemented across the labour market, leaving a lasting legacy of the FIFA World Cup long after the event, and benefiting migrant workers in the host country in the long term,” Infantino said.
“Challenges still remain — like in many other countries around the world — but the progress achieved in the recent past is undeniable, as is the commitment to bring about positive social change.”
Amnesty’s Qatar Reality Check 2021 report released in November claimed that despite the legal reforms introduced in the country, Qatar has “still not delivered on its promise to end labour abuses and exploitation of its more than two million migrant workers.”
Infantino admitted in January while addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) that “a lot needed to be done” in Qatar in the fields of work legislation, protection of workers and minimum wage.
Since 2017, the Qatar government has introduced reforms aimed at improving conditions for migrant workers.
“The State of Qatar has been a pioneer in modernising labour law and regulations regarding workers welfare,” the Qatar Labour minister said. “Such reforms are based on a legal and legislative framework that will continue to be applied after the World Cup.”
A Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund has been established while new laws have been introduced so that most workers no longer need exit permits to leave the country while they can also change employment freely without needing permission to do so from their previous employer.
A non-discriminatory minimum wage was put in place which, according to the recently conducted International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) mission to Qatar, has led to increased wages for 13% of the workforce (280,000 workers).
However, Amnesty, who claimed the Qatar government has “failed to rigorously implement those changes,” handed FIFA on Monday a petition demanding “fair working conditions in Qatar and for the football community to respect human rights.”