FIFA officials attended a meeting on the role of human and labor rights at major sporting events hosted by the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) and the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB).
The ceremony took place at the RBFA offices in Tubize ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year, which has been widely criticized for human rights violations, with at least 6,500 workers killed since the country was awarded hosting rights in 2010.
“We’ve taken steps, such as being on the ground in Qatar to conduct due diligence and speak out to the media about what we’ve witnessed,” RBFA CEO Peter Bossaert stated.
“We did this because we need to be able to back up our claims with facts in order to defend human rights and accept our responsibilities.”
“We pay attention to all workers in all areas; it’s the same for everyone.”
The fact that homosexuality is banned in Qatar has also been criticized, but speakers emphasized that the World Cup was an opportunity for reform, with the discussions focusing on the necessity of having inclusive competitions that promote tolerance and respect.
Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup has drawn criticism for the country’s human rights violations and anti-gay policies, among other things. courtesy of Getty Images
“In Qatar, sustainable change has come through football, and we want to leverage the force of the FIFA World Cup to ensure that transformation is permanent,” added Bossaert.
“In terms of LGBTQI+ persons, our request to FIFA and the supreme committee for delivery and legacy in Qatar is that everyone is welcomed, that everyone is able to attend the FIFA World Cup securely, and that everyone is able to express their opinion.”
Andreas Graf, FIFA’s head of human rights and anti-discrimination, stated that the World Cup is functioning as a catalyst for long-term worker welfare change in Qatar, and that preparations, including significant training programs, are ongoing as the tournament approaches.
“We have a great working relationship with our Qatari counterparts,” Graf remarked.
“Without the Supreme Committee and the Ministry of Labour’s efforts to develop human rights and other rights in the country, no change would have been possible.”
Despite multiple problems and objections, the competition is planned to take place from November 21 to December 18 this year.