Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.
DOHA: Qatar’s committee supervising preparations for the 2022 event says the decision to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time would accelerate progress in improving the rights of the migrant workers who are fuelling the rapid development of the infrastructure required.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, said: “It’s important to note this (workers’ rights) is an issue the government itself is looking into — and the government was looking into this before the World Cup came on board”.
The Guardian quoted Al Thawadi as saying in Zurich yesterday: “It’s not a matter of the World Cup imposing pressure, that’s not the case. If the World Cup is doing anything, it is accelerating a number of these initiatives”.
Al Thawadi, who is in Zurich to deliver a progress report on the country’s preparations, insisted there was no prospect of Qatar being stripped of the World Cup over the issue. He said the Supreme Committee had established a workers welfare committee.
“We are looking at provisions for our contractors and we are in dialogue with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to look at not only the contracts but the mechanisms to enforce them”.
International wire agency AFP, meanwhile, quoted him as saying, in the context of the allegations of instances of workers’ rights abuse: “When you reach the point where people die, it always raises issues of humanity. Is this acceptable? Of course, it isn’t. The government has said so quite clearly”.
AFP said Al Thawadi talked to it as he arrived at Fifa building in a leafy suburb overlooking Zurich.
“We are going to ensure the security, the protection and the honour of everyone. We’ve worked to that pledge, will continue to do so, and will always give it the utmost priority,” he added.
The Fifa governing body, meanwhile, began meetings to debate moving the 2022 World Cup to winter. A host of other matters would also be on agenda for the meetings but discussions would centre around switching the 2022 World Cup dates from summer to winter. However, reports have indicated that the decision on switching the World Cup to winter would not be finalised today.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, UEFA President Michel Platini was quoted as saying that it would be “impossible” to make any decision on the matter this week.
Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee on Wednesday reiterated its stance on delivering a World Cup in summer as was declared in its bid file. Qatar said it was researching and developing cooling technologies which could be used “in our stadiums, training pitches, fan zones and public areas for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.” It also said it would not object to a move away from the originally scheduled summer tournament if asked.
The Peninsula & Agencies