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Infantino wants Qatar 2022 monitoring

BBC News BBC News 22/04/2016
Migrant workers at a Qatar construction site (file photo) © Reuters Migrant workers at a Qatar construction site (file photo)

Fifa President Gianni Infantino has said a new independent committee will be set up to monitor working conditions at Qatar's 2022 World Cup venues.

The move is an attempt by the world football's governing body to ease fears of human rights abuses in the state.

Amnesty International - who last month accused Qatar of using forced labour - welcomed "steps in the right direction".

Qatar said it was continuing "to make progress" on the issue.

'Blood, sweat and tears'

Speaking during his first visit to Qatar since becoming Fifa boss, Mr Infantino said: "We will not just sit and wait."

"Fifa will step up its efforts in overseeing... in order to ensure the protection of the workers' rights in the construction of the Fifa World Cup sites".

Mr Infantino said he wanted the committee to be "put in place very, very soon", adding that the plan had been welcomed by the "highest Qatari authorities".

He said he had personally told Qatari Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser al-Thani that more needed to be done to safeguard labourers.

"I made it very clear that it is essential for the Qatari authorities to ensure that the country complies to international standards on the treatment of workforce and to continue at full pace with the implementation of the promised measures," he added.

Responding to the Fifa chief's comments, Amnesty International's Gulf Migrants Rights Researcher Mustafa Qadri said: "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."

In March, Amnesty reported on alleged abuses in Qatar's preparations for the World Cup in a wide-ranging document.

Based on the accounts of 132 workers at various sites, the report claimed workers from Nepal and India had been charged recruitment fees and housed in squalid conditions.

It also said the labourers had had their wages withheld and passports confiscated.

The head of Qatar's organising committee, Hassan al-Thawadi, promised that the 2022 World Cup - the first 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, where we continue to make progress,'' he said.

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