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Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by Nico Limmat, Feb 24, 2014.
I agree with this view
and this response.
Ideally, we'll see everyone in FIFA above the level of janitor as a guest of the Department of Corrections (I'm being hyperbolic, but not by much). And, that'll be followed up with a serious re-examination of what the WC has become over the last couple of decades.
One of the things that stands out for me with the Qatar bid is how little consideration there was for the interests of fans and players when choosing this bid. That's not surprising, really, given what FIFA considers important in its decision making.
Abuse Of Qatari World Cup Workers Continues Despite Promised Reforms
ESPN FC's take:
Qatar 2022 World Cup prep faces fresh migrant worker abuse allegations
from Amnesty International: "Despite five years of promises, FIFA has failed almost completely to stop the World Cup being built on human rights abuses."
the replies from FIFA and the "Supreme Committee" are nothing but BS. They keep citing "progress". I little bit of progress isn't good enough. After all these years the system is basically the same and the same stuff keeps happening.
It's clear to me their goal is to do as little as possible and keep putting up smoke screens and citing "progress" but keep the bulk of the practices in place until the construction is done, and then when the world's spotlight is off them, go right back to the same old system.
I get the feeling the folks in FIFA are either using their own turmoil as the excuse for turning a blind eye to Qatar at the moment, or they're biding time until it's too late to do anything and they simply raise their hands and say "Well, no choice now but to move on with the event!"
I think it's both! The comments on the AI report by FIFA are not unexpected or surprising, but they're inexcusable.
"While constructive criticism is necessary and, in many cases, helpful, it is also important to acknowledge progress, such as the achievements of the Supreme Committee [the government entity responsible for the delivery of World Cup infrastructure] to date.
"Furthermore, we do not agree with the statement in your letter that 'FIFA took no clear, concrete action to prevent human rights abuses of workers on World Cup-related projects'.
"FIFA has been integrating human rights components in different aspects of its work, processes and activities for many years."
what a load of crap. The same stuff is still happening, well over 1000 foreign workers, most of them [previously] healthy men in their 20s, have died. So what "action" has FIFA taken other than to help Qatar cover the abuses up? Citing some incremental "progress" as if it's reason for the world to now ignore what's going on is sick. It may be a new regime at FIFA but it looks like it's still the same old FIFA.
I'd like to think that finding a (near) universal maxim on what constitutes basic human rights in matters like labor should be pretty easy, but one needs to only look at the international section of any quality news outlet and you'll see cultural differences so deep that it's equally easy to see why disagree on so many things. In this particular regard we'll need the bulk of sponsors and media partners, who likely come from first world countries, to demand FIFA establish a minimum requirement as closely aligned as possible with what we'd see in those nations. So essentially - "You don't have to be a, say, Spain, economically to host but your laws for labor and travelers should be on par with theirs."
Is FIFA afraid the Qatarese will demand the bribe money back? It's obvious to everyone looking that there were voting bribes AND worker conditions are beyond disgusting. Move the damn Cup!
The bribery allegations and worker conditions have to be looked at independently. These are two separate issues.
Hosting rights won through acts of bribery have to be removed. No question about it.
The worker conditions are a lot more tricky. What exactly do people expect FIFA to do here other than friendly lobbying with the Qatari government? This was not an explicit condition at the time of bidding and a human rights article has only just been added to the FIFA statutes in the recently passed reforms. Labour rights should be looked at closely going forward but I'm afraid it's too late for Qatar.
Also remember that just about the whole world officially deals and does business with Qatar. You are asking FIFA, a politically neutral sports governing body, to take a stand when nobody else is. This includes the often cited FIFA sponsors from the so called developed world. They questioned the culture of corruption within FIFA, never Qatar as an environment.
Not for Brazilians.
I am sympathetic to the protests over the spending on stadiums and I read David Zirin's book "Dancing with the Devil" about it. I also hate the NFL's use of public money for building overly lavish stadiums in my own county. But I still think the World Cup should go to the world, and not just stay in developed nations. My feeling is don't give it up, do it better (cheaper, mostly, in this case). Maybe I'm overly optimistic.
Not a good report for Qatar (among others...)
A report released by someone hired by FIFA to look into reports of human rights abuses in Qatar.
Not a good report....we'll see if it does anything. It certainly goes to FIFA reform as well -- -lots of comments about their reactionary positions and curious decisions.
Talks about FIFA not using it's power to institute change and that Qatar does have problems. Ultimately recommends pulling World Cup from places that don't respect human rights. Doesn't come out and say pull the 2022 WC from Qatar.
Access to the full report on Human Rights can be found here:
Kudos to FIFA for releasing it.
This will only have an impact if more and more sponsors (like the ones mentioned in the first article.) take a strong position and pressure FIFA.
This is a first step in that direction, because now the public can imply to those sponsors that association with a particular event may also mean association with a state that is "violating human rights." Not exactly something for which Coke, Visa and others aspire in their business practices.
Of course Coke, Visa etc. have been doing business in Qatar and the Arabian Gulf for decades. Banging the human rights drum now is highly hypocritical. Anyway, this report is a good first step. Bidding should ideally be tied to a reliable human rights index where a minimum standard has to be met. And it has to apply to all FIFA competitions, not just the World Cup.
That's a good point. Youth tournaments and continental competitions were never held to such a high standard.
One way to reduce the costs is to tier the matches post draw into different venue classes rather than drawing the matches to the venues blindly. Anticipated attendance based upon how well fans traditionally attend matches featuring any two teams would inform which venue category each match is assigned. France-Portugal in group play = larger venue. S. Korea v Togo = smaller. Venues would still have hospitality, media, training room, and safety requirements, but this opens up the ability to use 25K venues with minimal retrofit. The quality of all things player-oriented should remain the same regardless of venue.
For general hosting guidelines, I think it would be politically easier to punt certain criteria to recognized international authorities. For example, to even be eligible to submit a bid, a host would need to have very high or high human development according to the UN Human Development Report (0.70 or higher). Arguably this could be dropped to 0.65 (South Africa would be eligible) or 0.6 (India would be eligible). From there, teams must develop credible infrastructure and development plans to host, audited by a committee. Total costs to develop said plan for hosting could be no more than x% of a country's annual GDP. For reference, Brazil 2014 ran about 0.4% of GDP. Even if the figures were grossly underreported, it was still likely less than 1% of GDP. I think the protest of the investment was legitimate, but regardless, the underlying fiscal burden on Brazil's economy was quite small.
This creates a sort of sliding scale that favors re-use of existing facilities. Any WC plan that requires any sort of multi-venue refit/construction will run 2 billion at a minimum no matter how cheap you do it. Relying more on existing structures, smaller countries with sufficient existing infrastructure could bid, but very small countries with a lot of wealth but no existing venues like a Qatar could not.
This strikes me as a reasonable balance between open and financially/socially responsible.
Indeed, but that's how global corporations work. Though it's equally fair to say this might be the first real opportunity for those businesses to potentially impact social change. Individually Coke might not wield the influence necessary to alter things in a country, but pulled together with other companies and impact a FIFA event and perhaps the forces in that country begin to listen.
Actually they were all front runners in South Africa, during Apartheid days, as well.
So it's not something they are new with, there in Qatar, or if it is FIFA related or non related.
For them, they will be wherever money is, and simply give support to whatever plausible cause may appear, but they will not stop doing business there (for them, there is no such thing as "dirty money"; money is simply money, always good).
There is a big branding difference here. I have a Visa card. I don't think about transactions running through Qatar or them having any sort of physical presence there. It's not part of my direct Visa experience when I get my bill or make charges. There are literally thousands of western companies doing business in places that I may have personal ethical reservations about, even if the doing business is not illegal. Convicted pedophiles have probably ordered a Dominos pizza too.
When you literally spend money to associate your name with not only the WC, but also the scenic backdrop of the host, that is a visceral experience. 100 million people for each match will see that you've chosen to pay to place your corporate image into the event.
Agree completely. The point is some people look to the FIFA sponsors to be the voice of moral reason when they are anything but. The calls for human rights are purely self-serving because (for a change) there is a bit of attention on one of their operating environments. Large corporations have proven over and over that they will push all moral boundaries until they are pulled back by government regulation. And here's the thing, how many international sanctions have been imposed on Qatar? None. Zilch. Nobody has told their companies not to do business there.
I urge everyone to look at the number of international sanctions and compare that to the number conflicts in the world today. The message is loud and clear. Human rights don't matter. They never did. Sanctions are a purely political tool. The fact that Iran was declared a pariah while Saudi Arabia is hailed as an ally tells you all you need to know about moral consistency by the "first world" in the region.
Qatar 2022 is a storm in a tea cup. I hate to be negative but I see nothing changing. Qatar can have their cake and eat it too. Cheap labour and Western innovation by companies tripping over themselves to do business in the Arabian Gulf. The Qatar of today couldn't exist without all the international support it has received over the years.
Let's keep that mind.
Not disagreeing with you. But any opportunity to affect change for the better should be explored, even if it involves enduring moments of hypocrisy.
Beats looking back at opportunities lost, anyway.
And we already see major companies in the USA who have been silent in years past now threatening to stop business in US Southern states that don't fit into their personal or left wing agendas.
Something along the lines of human rights should be easier to act upon due to it being less partisan (in theory.)