Canada Soccer urged to join Qatar World Cup migrant worker compensation claim
Canada Soccer is urged to back calls to compensate migrant workers whose work made the next World Cup in Qatar a reality – and cost some of them their lives.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have been involved in the preparation for the next World Cup, according to Amnesty International.
The human rights organization wants US$440 million – a total of the World Cup prize money – to compensate workers who suffered human rights abuses while working on projects in the years leading up to the tournament.
But so far, Canada‘s sports governing body has remained silent on the issue. This has prompted football fans and human rights advocates to speak out against the organization’s lack of commitment.
“This is not only surprising but very disappointing,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.
Nivyabandi said at least seven national football associations – including the United States, England, France and the Netherlands – have spoken out on the issue. But not Canada’s own team, nor its governing body.
She believes that many football fans want their national team to “stand up against these violations and recognize that this is happening at the expense of migrant workers in Qatar”.
Canada Soccer did not respond to a request for comment from CBC News on Thursday.
A men’s national team player, Lucas Cavallini, told CBC News he hasn’t had a conversation with other players about the controversies in Qatar.
“We’re all basically distracted by the tournament and the way things are going for us and we’re just worried about playing football… We’re here to be in a tournament so that’s basically all we have to worry about. focus.”
The issue has taken on greater importance with members of the Denmark national team, whose players will have another shirt to wear to pay tribute to migrant workers who have lost their lives.
The “alarmed” fan club
A large group of national team supporters in Canada, known as the Voyageurs, are calling on both the organization and the national team to step up.
The Voyageurs told CBC News that their members had to weigh their concerns about the treatment of migrants in Qatar against a desire to support their national team.
“Our goal is to cheer on our players wherever they play. In qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, that means supporting our men’s team in Qatar,” the fan club said in a statement.
“Human rights issues and the treatment of migrant workers have been well documented,” the statement said, noting that this meant club members had to make personal decisions about whether to travel to Qatar.
Travelers also expressed concern about other human rights issues in Qatar, beyond those directly related to preparations for the football tournament.
“We are alarmed by the Qatari government’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ population in the country and the many deaths that have occurred during the construction of World Cup stadiums and infrastructure,” the club said, saying it joined other public calls for compensation. families of deceased migrant workers.