2022 World Cup

Sepp Blatter, FIFA
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Qatar to set up desert tent camp to house World Cup fans

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) The committee organizing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar plans to try out a “fan village” that could house up to 2,000 soccer spectators in Arabian desert tents.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said Tuesday it is seeking bids to develop a pilot project near the Sealine Beach resort south of the capital, Doha.

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It will offer different types of accommodation in 350 temporary tents and 300 permanent tents, along with big viewing screens and other entertainment options. A total of five fan villages could eventually be built.

Qatar is racing to build hotels and other infrastructure needed to host the games. Visitor accommodation in Qatar is currently dominated by higher-end hotels in Doha.

Qatar World Cup head: Blatter US support should be looked at

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president
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LONDON (AP) The head of the Qatar World Cup says Sepp Blatter’s support for the rival United States bid for the 2022 tournament should face more scrutiny.

Qatar’s FIFA backers have been criticized for seemingly ignoring the inspection report before voting for the Gulf nation in 2010.

But Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar organizing committee, says then-FIFA President Blatter “wanted the U.S. to win regardless of the merits of the bid, regardless of anything else … that needs to be looked at.”

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Addressing a London audience, Al-Thawadi added that “it’s just fascinating that nobody is raising any concerns about that (Blatter) and looking into that … but fair enough. I guess we will take the flak again.”

The U.S. bid has not been accused of impropriety. Qatar has also denied any wrongdoing.

Worker dies after falling ill at Qatar World Cup stadium site

In this photo taken during a government organized media tour, workers use heavy machinery at the Al-Wakra Stadium being built for the 2022 World Cup, in Doha, Qatar, Monday, May 4, 2015. Qatar’s inability to ensure decent housing for its bulging migrant labor population was “a mistake” the government is working to fix as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, the country’s top labor official said Monday, vowing his country would improve conditions for its vast foreign labor force. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)
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DOHA, Qatar (AP) World Cup organizers say a worker has died after falling ill on the site of one of the stadiums being constructed for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

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The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy said Saturday that 48-year-old Indian national Jaleshwar Prasad died after he “fell ill on-site around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.”

The statement says that Prasad, who was a steel worker employed on the Al Bayt Stadium project, “received first aid treatment until paramedics arrived. He was transferred to Al Khor Hospital but sadly passed away around 11:30 a.m. Al Khor Hospital reported the cause of death as cardiac arrest.”

It adds that “a full investigation is underway.”

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Qatar is often criticized by rights groups and trade unions for alleged abuses and deaths on a range of construction projects linked to the 2022 World Cup since it won hosting rights in 2010.

Qatar is relying heavily on construction workers from south Asia.

A FIFA-appointed human rights expert from Harvard University recently advised that tournaments should be moved from countries where abuses persisted.

FIFA panel to monitor labor conditions at Qatar stadiums

Stadium is pictured as construction continues at 2022 World Cup Stadiums on December 27, 2015 in Doha, Qatar.
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DOHA, Qatar (AP) FIFA will create a panel to monitor construction at World Cup stadiums in Qatar to ensure “decent working conditions.”

During his first working visit to Qatar on Friday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the group will include “relevant sectors of civil society and other relevant FIFA stakeholders.”

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Qatar is often criticized by rights groups and trade unions for alleged abuses and deaths on a range of construction projects linked to the 2022 World Cup since it won hosting rights in 2010.

Last week, a FIFA-appointed human rights expert from Harvard University advised that tournaments should be moved from countries where abuses persisted.

“We take our responsibility seriously and are committed to playing our part,” Infantino said in a statement published by FIFA.

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Infantino visited the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha and workers’ accommodation during a two-day trip, and also met the emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Amnesty International welcomed “steps in the right direction” announced by the FIFA president, who was elected two months ago.

“Finally, it appears FIFA is waking up to the fact that unless it takes concrete action, the Qatar 2022 World Cup will be built on the blood, sweat and tears of migrant workers,” said Mustafa Qadri, a spokesman for Amnesty on migrants rights in the Gulf region.

The gas-rich emirate is expected to spend tens of billions of dollars before the November-December 2022 tournament kicks off, preparing eight new and renovated stadiums and related projects such as transport links and accommodation.

Qatar is relying heavily on construction workers from south Asia who are tied to the “kafala” system of sponsorship common in Gulf nations, which critics say exposes migrants to exploitation.

Harvard professor John Ruggie said last week that FIFA should have gotten assurances from Qatar that the “kafala” system would not be used for any World Cup-related job before bidding even started in 2009.

Though Qatari authorities have promised reforms, progress with new laws has been slow.

“FIFA and I will take the Qatari authorities at their word and I look forward to the concrete actions which will be the real testament of will,” Infantino said, adding he was “confident that we are on the right track.”

The head of Qatar’s organizing committee, Hassan al Thawadi, said the first World Cup in the Middle East would meet all FIFA requirements.

“Crucially, we are also firmly committed to leaving a lasting social legacy after the tournament – including in the area of workers’ welfare,” Al Thawadi said in the FIFA statement.

Adviser: FIFA should strip nations of World Cups over human rights abuses

DOHA, QATAR - OCTOBER 23: (EDITORS NOTE: Image was created using a variable
planed lens.) A worker uses a wheelbarrow to move cinder blocks on a construction site in the budding new financial district on October 23, 2011 in Doha, Qatar. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup football competition and is slated to tackle a variety of infrastructure projects, including the construction of new stadiums.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
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FIFA should strip World Cups from countries who are failing to eradicate human rights abuses.

Those are the views of a Harvard professor who was was tasked by FIFA to recommend human rights obligations for world soccer’s governing body.

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John Ruggie, who previously formed business and human rights principles for the United Nations, was asked by FIFA to produce a report following concerns over worked in Qatar being mistreated.

Qatar is due to host the World Cup in 2022 but numerous issues have been reported regarding human rights with migrant workers who are building soccer stadiums in the host nation.

“Where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship,” Ruggie said.

More details from the Associated Press:

Among his conclusions, Ruggie writes “where FIFA is unable to reduce severe human rights impacts by using its leverage, it should consider suspending or terminating the relationship.” Ruggie says that should apply to any entity FIFA has a relationship with – from World Cup hosts to sponsors.

FIFA’s latest statues include a commitment to protect “all internationally recognized human rights.”

Current FIFA president Gianni Infantino had the following to say regarding Ruggie’s findings, as he also suggested cutting ties with any sponsors who have human rights issues.

“I would like to thank Prof. Ruggie for his work in producing this report, which, together with FIFA’s own analysis and ongoing work, will guide the way forward,” Infantino said. “This is an ongoing process and of course challenges remain, but FIFA is committed to playing its part in ensuring respect for human rights and to being a leader among international sports organisations in this important area.”

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According to its own statues, FIFA must uphold “all internationally recognized human rights.”