Blood of Migrant Workers on FIFA's Hand(ball)
The culture of corruption in FIFA has far reaching consequences and could mean the lives of thousands of migrant laborers. For years FIFA has turned a blind eye to human rights violations occurring under their watch, as we are currently witnessing in Russia and Qatar, sites of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.
FIFA, along with corporate and political elites in both countries, have their greedy sights set on the mountains of cash to be made at the upcoming World Cups. Meanwhile, laborers building the stadiums and other venues are dying at alarming rates, and those who survive aren't getting anything even close to a fair day's pay.
In Qatar, it is estimated that nearly 900 workers are dying each year, working with no breaks, shade, or water in a 120-degree climate. Employers (public and private) are housing them in horrid conditions. Workers are also paying ridiculously high fees to secure these jobs, and they are prohibited from organizing. It's all part of what's know as the kafala system, which controls the workforce in the Gulf states. An independent law firm hired by Qatar reported last year on the unspeakable conditions for migrant workers in Qatar. Somehow the report has gone unaddressed.
What's more: FIFA openly calls equal pay for women “nonsense,” and they have been known to pay women 40 times less then their male counterparts.
Real change is unlikely to happen from inside of FIFA due to years of scandal, bribery, and corruption.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is petitioning the global soccer federation to create an independent reform commission to address these worker-related problems in Qatar, Russia, and elsewhere. Only the power and independence of a reform commission can bring a change to the lives and work conditions of hundreds of thousands workers constructing massive sports stadiums that ultimately mean profit for entrenched interests.
The AFL-CIO has joined the ITUC in urging their working-class allies to email the U.S Soccer Federation with demands for the establishment of an independent reform commission. They're more than halfway past their goal for signatures, so add your John Hancock here right now!