PtG Article 20.05.2015

Workers’ union joins FIFA reform group adding pressure on World Cup sponsors

The International Trade Union Confederation has joined the FIFA reform group New FIFA Now in a campaign urging World Cup sponsors to take a stand against the conditions for migrant workers in Qatar preparing the country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The reform group New FIFA Now has issued a renewed call for reform in FIFA. This time, they call on the official FIFA sponsors to take a public stand against the poor working conditions under which many of the migrant workers building the facilities for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar work.

Joining them in this plea is the International Trade Union Federation, whose general secretary, Sharan Burrow, compared the Qatari kafala system to apartheid and slavery:

“Qatar is a slave state. The discrimination, the racism, the denial of rights for 1.4 million migrant workers adds up to apartheid and a model of employment that is simply slavery. There is a conspiracy of silence by governments and major sporting and cultural institutions that allow it to continue. The world must not be duped by Qatar’s empty promises of reform,” she said according to a press release.

According to New FIFA Now, FIFA and the official FIFA sponsors all have a responsibility to improve these working conditions to adhere to their individual promises of supporting basic human rights.

By remaining silent about these issues, FIFA and its sponsors are potentially compromising these promises, says New FIFA Now.

“If workers are dying, Fifa has blood on its hands, as do these sponsors, for as long as they turn a blind eye to what’s going on there,” said British MP Damian Collins at the press launch, according to The Guardian. “It’s time we raise our voices. People should demand more action is taken.”

New FIFA Now has contacted each of the sponsors individually and asked them to take a public stance about the lack of workers’ rights in Qatar.

“All of us involved in this alliance are committed to rallying support from FIFA sponsors, all of whom have remained suspiciously quiet through a succession of major issues,” said Jaime Fuller, chairman of sportswear manufacturer SKINS, who recently declared themselves ‘Official Non-Sponsor of FIFA’.

97 % have lost trust in FIFA, says survey

Since the FIFA critical alliance's launch in January this year, they have conducted a ‘Global Fans Survey’ collecting responses from more than 11.000 football fans around the globe via online questionnaires on the reform group's website.

The results of the survey were recently published and show much discontent with the way that FIFA is currently managed. As many as 97 % of the respondents claimed to have lost confidence in the FIFA administration and governance, and not one of the respondents supported that Sepp Blatter should be elected for another term as president. 85 %, however, belived that he will.


More information


More about New FIFA Now

More about the ’Global Fan Survey

Watch video featuring Andrew Jennings about the recent New FIFA Now Campaign