The decision of FIFA, world football’s governing body, to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, despite its climate constraints and the lack of a domestic football tradition, was a major victory in Qatar’s long-term strategy aimed at enhancing the Emirate’s international outreach, within a broader ambitious foreign policy.
However commentators stress that the challenge of hosting the World Cup could trigger major social change, endangering the Qatari political system which has remained untouched by the Arab Spring. Indeed the absolute monarchy is sustained by a generous benefits system for the minority – Qatari citizens – while the majority – 94% of the, mostly migrant, workforce – suffers harsh working and living conditions. Although Qatari law includes considerable protection for migrant workers, this is scarcely enforced in practice. One reason is the legal provisions that grant excessive rights to employers (sponsorship system), while denying any rights of association to workers. International civil society pressure on Qatar, conscious of its public image, could bring about unexpected changes in the entire Gulf region. Neighbouring countries have all developed similar arrangements to deal with the foreign workforce, on which they depend.
[…] hearing in Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights of February 2014, which focused on the situation of migrant workers in the construction of football stadiums for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. This and other EP public […]
[…] The EU institutions, especially the European Parliament, have frequently expressed concern about human rights issues to the Middle Eastern and North African countries – in particular about women’s condition, even though the situation is not the same in the whole region: there are significant differences between Israel and, say, Algeria – and even between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (see briefing in French: La condition féminine en Arabie Saoudite). The European Parliament also remains concerned about the condition of migrant workers in Qatar. […]
[…] Migrant workers’ conditions in Qatar: Prospects of change on the road to the 2022 World Cup (libraryeuroparl.wordpress.com) […]
[…] Watch over human rights of migrant workers working at prestigious sport events; whether the Winter Olympics at Sochi or the 2022 World Cup in Qatar; […]