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SBD Global/September 30, 2013/International Football

United Nations Agency Says Qatar Failing On Labor; FIFPro 'Deeply Alarmed' By Reports

The United Nations Int'l Labour Organisation has warned "Qatar is failing to fully implement an international convention banning the use of forced labour ahead of the 2022 football World Cup," according to Booth & Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. ILO senior labour migration adviser in the Arab states Azfar Khan said that "despite pledges to do otherwise Qatar did not properly inspect workplace conditions and there was 'no coherence' in the state's policies over the use of migrant labour." On Friday, int'l footballers' union FIFPro said it was "deeply alarmed by reports of the brutal exploitation of migrant workers by construction companies in Qatar who are involved in building the stadia that Fifpro members will be expected to play in." The umbrella organization for players' unions, which represents more than 50,000 footballers around the world, from Lionel Messi to Wayne Rooney, "called for independent workplace experts appointed by FIFA and the ILO to be given access to all sites and powers to make binding recommendations to ensure international labour standards are respected in Qatar." FIFPro Asia Division Chair Brendan Schwab said, "If these reports are true, then football must act. It is inexcusable for workers' lives to be sacrificed." The British law firm Leigh Day "is taking steps to bring legal actions in the London courts against any U.K. firms found to be working on construction projects where labour laws are being breached" (GUARDIAN, 9/27).
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