FIFA summoned to court for human and labour rights violations connected to the World Cup 2022 in Qatar
On 8 December 2016, FIFA was summoned to appear in the commercial court in Zürich, in Switzerland. In addition to the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) and former migrant worker Nadim Alam, two Bangladeshi Unions have joined the case as plaintiffs: Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress (BFTUC) and Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers Federation (BBWWF).
The Swiss court is asked to rule that FIFA acted wrongfully by selecting Qatar for the World Cup 2022 without demanding the assurance that Qatar observes fundamental human and labour rights of migrant construction workers, including the abolition of the Kafala system. The Swiss court is furthermore requested to rule that, in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, FIFA ensures that the rights of migrant construction workers are safeguarded, by insisting on adequate and effective labour reforms in Qatar, that are actually implemented.
The Bangladeshi Unions BFTUC and BBWWF have decided to join the case as many of their members left Bangladesh to work in Qatar. These unions are actively engaged with issues pertaining to the rights of migrant workers and in the global fight for the protection of the rights of migrant workers in Middle East, specifically Qatar.
The Swiss court will first decide whether the formalities have been fulfilled. After, FIFA will be allowed to respond in writing to the summons.
On 10 October FIFA was informed of the claim. By writing of 20 October and 16 November FIFA rejected all allegations and explained its efforts to address human rights risks linked to the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA’s letter can be read on FNV’s website: https://www.fnv.nl/. Plaintiffs find that FIFA still fails to adequately respond to the abuse of migrant workers connected to its men tournament 2022.
James M. Dorsey, 'Trade unions challenge FIFA and Qatar World Cup in Swiss Court', blog, Middle East Soccer | 8 December 2016
O. Gibson, 'Fifa faces legal challenge over Qatar migrant workers',
The Guardian | 10 October 2016