World Cup 2022, football and slavery meet in Qatar
Doha (AsiaNews/Agencies) - While Fifa mulls over whether to assign the World Cup to Qatar in 2022 , the International Trade Union Confederation ( ITUC ), an organization committed to protecting the rights of workers in 153 countries worldwide , is preparing to launch a boycott of the competition. " It would be a dreadful pity and an enormous shame on all of us if we are prepared to participate in a world cup that has been brought to us by slavery," said the group's director , Aidan McQuade .
In Qatar, the system of kafala - or sponsorship - to date traps more than one million foreign workers, by binding to their employer and depriving them of any fundamental rights. They are Nepalese, Filipinos and Indonesians, and work either for large construction companies or as domestic employees of the rich Qataris . Once hired , they are deprived of their passports and any fundamental right. Without the permission of their ' sponsors ' they can not resign , leave the country or file a complaint in case of abuse , under penalty of arrest or deportation.
Pope Francis also spoke out against the trafficking of migrants on 8 July during his visit to Lampedusa. Celebrating Mass right beside the ' graveyard of the boats ' , the Holy Father condemned the ' globalization of indifference ' , which has deprived us of the " ability to cry " and our " fraternal sense of responsibility ."
But FIFA's doubts over whether or not to designate Qatar as the host nation, mainly concern the climate issue. In the Gulf countries , in fact , summer temperatures often reach 50 ° C and in spite of the emirs advancing the crazy idea of on pitch air conditioning, FIFA officials are considering whether to move the competition to the winter months.
At the same time, a World Cup in Qatar would imply a mass of contracts of up to 75 billion dollars, on which the big U.S., British , French and Brazilian companies are already scrambling to lay thier hands when FIFA decided to settle the emirs . The hotels , stadiums , railways, subway lines and a new city of 200 thousand inhabitants would be built and serviced by migrants who have arrived in Qatar from Southeast Asia, constituting up to 94 % of the workforce . According to Sharan Burrow , ITUC General Secretary ,this is why "the organization will put pressure on these investment groups so that together with the development of the planned projects they will encourage an improvement of the working conditions of migrants ."
Qatar's young Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al- Thani, is the heir of a double political game started by his father according to many analysts: maintaining the conditions that allow the survival of the kafala system and at the same time encouraging the birth of sterile non-governmental organizations to act as a counterweight . In 2002 , the Emir Khalifa al- Tani , who abdicated in favor of Tamim on 24 June , inaugurated the Commission for Human Rights , while the Qatar Foundation on Combating human trafficking , " engaged " in the fight against human trafficking , was conceived by Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al Missned , his second wife.