England, Germany call for FIFA to improve migrant worker rights

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The football associations of 10 European countries, including England and Germany, have called on FIFA to improve migrant worker rights in Qatar ahead of this month’s World Cup.

“FIFA has repeatedly committed to deliver concrete answers on these issues — the compensation fund for migrant workers, and the concept of a migrant workers’ centre to be created in Doha — and we will continue to press for these to be delivered,” the open letter published on Sunday said.

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It was signed by 10 national governing bodies, all members of the UEFA Working Group on Human and Labour Rights, and eight teams that have qualified for the World Cup — despite FIFA having written to World Cup teams last week urging them to focus on football and not get dragged into politics.

Amnesty and other rights groups have led calls for FIFA to compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights abuses by setting aside $440 million, matching the World Cup prize money.

Last week Australia’s team spoke out against Qatar’s record on human rights and same-sex relationships, while Denmark’s players will travel to the World Cup without their families as a protest against Qatar’s human rights record.

Qatar has come under intense pressure over its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws, leading many participating teams to raise concerns, although the country has denied claims workers have been exploited.

Sunday’s open letter said Qatar had made “significant progress” regarding migrant workers’ rights and in providing assurances on the safety of LGBTQ+ supporters.

“We also recognise that every country has issues and challenges and we agree with FIFA that diversity is a strength,” the letter added.

“However, embracing diversity and tolerance also means supporting human rights. Human rights are universal and they apply everywhere.”

Qatar’s World Cup organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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