UEFA working group returns to Qatar one year ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Saturday, December 11, 2021
The working group has visited Qatar to meet key institutions and individuals in the host country as the tournament draws closer. The visit focused on how developments will intensify before, during and after the tournament.
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The UEFA working group on worker’s rights in Qatar has conducted its second visit to the 2022 World Cup hosts to continue on-site dialogue about the situation in the country in the run-up to the tournament at the end of next year.
Following an initial mission in August this year, the visit to Doha on 9 and 10 December aimed to continue the gathering of information about developments in Qatar through discussions and exchanges with authorities, institutions and individuals. The talks also reviewed major points of interest for the European football associations.
The working group used this visit to seek closer dialogue with various parties, including representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry Labour of Qatar, Qatar Football Association, and Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy who positively facilitated and supported the entire visit.
The group also met with representatives of Amnesty International, the Builders and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), International Labour Organization (ILO), National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), FIFA, and representatives from some of the respective local embassies.
Additionally, through the BWI, the group met with a group of migrant workers in order to understand their lived experience.
The visit, which culminated on UN Human Rights Day, came less than a year before the World Cup, which takes place from 21 November to 18 December 2022, and the discussions focused in particular on development efforts going into this final year.
The topics which were discussed included:
• Labour rights: Implementation of reforms and enforcement of laws
• The protection of freedom of the press
• Fan engagement and tournament involvement
• The importance of anti-discrimination, in particular women’s rights and LGBTQ+ safety and inclusion
• Human rights due diligence checks throughout the supply chain
The group’s visit to Doha also looked to widen the scope of interaction with additional active parties. This included potential new discussions concerning migrant workers in the hospitality industry, a sector which is coming more to the fore as the tournament approaches given infrastructure projects are being finalised or entering their final stage of construction.
The visit also focused on collecting more detailed information on the legacy aspect, and what the country and institutions involved will do to ensure that the positive developments that have taken place will endure after the tournament.
The visit reinforced that the tournament continues to be a catalyst for positive change and also helped to define the direction of future visits to the World Cup host country that are due to take place throughout 2022 and 2023.
The participants included representatives of the UEFA working group’s member associations from England, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and UEFA administration members Michele Uva, Emily Shaw, Sara Holmgren and Laura Piccolo alongside FIFA representatives Nodar Akhalkatsi and Andreas Graf. Additionally, representatives from two further Nordic football associations (Denmark and Finland) joined the UEFA working group.
Michele Uva, UEFA's football and social responsibility director and member of the UEFA working group, said: “All 55 UEFA member associations are working together in order to align all interactions, questions and exchanges with the FIFA World Cup hosts, as well as with various institutions and unions, regarding matters of human rights and labour rights in Qatar.
“I would like to thank the Qatar Supreme Committee for their access, openness and their willingness to discuss all issues. Additionally, I’d like to thank the independent organisations and individuals for their collaboration.”