Qatar risks losing World Cup without job reform: Zwanziger

Wed Dec 17, 2014 6:49am EST
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Qatar must meet a March deadline for specific labor reforms or it could risk losing the 2022 World Cup finals, FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said on Tuesday.

The German, who was formerly head of his country's FA and has been a vocal critic of the desert state's ability to host a World Cup under extreme summer heat, said a proposal would be made to the world governing body's Exco meeting on Friday.

"Qataris must deploy, by a March 10, 2015 deadline, the independent commission -- tasked with regularly monitoring human rights conditions at World Cup construction sites and note progress -- as demanded in the Piper report," Zwanziger told Sport Bild magazine.

"Until now apparently not much has happened," he said.

Widespread reports of human rights violations among migrant workers in the energy-rich Gulf state prompted a Qatar-sponsored review of labor legislation by British-based law firm DLA Piper, which made several recommendations including the creation of a minimum wage for each category of construction worker.

Zwanziger added that if the Qataris failed to implement the recommendations by next year's deadline it could have consequences for the 2022 tournament.

"Then I would expect that a national federation would put in a request for a vote by the 209 member federations at the FIFA congress at the end of May in Zurich on stripping Qatar of the World Cup," he said.

This is not the first time Zwanziger, who is stepping down from his position as an Exco member in March next year, has criticized holding the finals in Qatar, saying in September he did not believe the tournament would be held there.

"I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar," he said at the time. "Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Journalists are reflected in a logo at the FIFA headquarters after a meeting of the executive committee in Zurich October 4, 2013. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann