A Swiss court has rejected a claim lodged against FIFA by several trade unions for alleged abuses of workers’ rights in 2022 World Cup host nation Qatar, football’s world governing body said on Friday. FIFA welcomed the Commercial Court of Zurich’s ruling to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Netherlands’ largest trade union, the FNV Bondgenoten, along with two Bangladeshi unions and a labourer from the South Asian country, it said in a statement.
In October, the FNV and one of its members had threatened to sue FIFA for alleged wrongful conduct and liability for human rights violations in relation to the World Cup in Qatar. The FNV “together with (a) Bangladeshi worker wants to take FIFA to court to demand an end to modern slavery”, the union said in a statement at the time. The summons came after rights groups accused Qatar of abusing the rights of more than 5,000 workers helping to build the facilities for the Gulf state which will host the 2022 World Cup. In March, Amnesty International published a report saying workers at the Khalifa International Stadium, mostly from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, were lied to about their salaries, went unpaid for months and were housed in squalid accommodation, which it claimed amounted to forced labour. One of the workers was Nadim Shariful Alam, 32, who belongs to the FNV’s international branch and was a co-plaintiff in the 1.1 million-member FNV’s case. Alam “was lured to Qatar with a pretty tale and paid 3,976 euros ($4,400) to a recruiter,” the FNV said. “In exchange he had to unload ships for a year-and-a-half as a modern slave, live in dreadful conditions with thousands in a specially-built camp and had to hand in his passport,” the union added.
The poor treatment of construction workers is one of the major issues dogging Qatar since the controversial decision in December 2010 to award it the right to host football’s flagship tournament. FIFA chief Gianni Infantino announced in April that the organisation would establish a body to monitor working conditions in Qatar. “FIFA takes the issue of working conditions and human rights in connection with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar very seriously,” the federation said in Friday’s statement. “FIFA monitors the situation very closely and, as recently stated by President Infantino, will continue to urge the Qatari authorities to ensure safe and decent working conditions for construction workers,” it reaffirmed.