COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (Reuters) - FIFA is working to improve the rights of workers in Qatar but everyone needs to “calm down” about the problems surrounding the 2022 World Cup, the world soccer body’s president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.
A decision on whether the tournament will be moved from the steaming summer months to the winter months in nine years’ time has been postponed by FIFA until after next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Alleged abuses of the rights of migrant workers employed on World Cup projects have made frequent headlines this year but a spokesman for the International Trades Union Confederation said this week that conditions had still not improved.
Blatter said FIFA could not absolve itself from its responsibilities regarding the problems in the Gulf state, but the time had come for cool heads to deal with the heated situation.
He told hundreds of journalists gathered in Brazil for Friday’s World Cup draw that he had met the Prime Minister and Emir of Qatar as well as the labor industry.
“We are looking at workers’ welfare in Qatar,” he said.
”We in FIFA have our responsibilities and there are others in Qatar with their responsibilities. We have met with the ITUC and the ILO (International Labor Organization) and now is the time to calm down.
”But we will go further and we are working very hard on this situation and we will come together with these organizations and then we will have an inventory to decide how we go forward.
“I am sure at the end of the day football will be the winner because we can show the world it is possible to create good working conditions. If there is a will there is a way. I will find a solution.”
Earlier this year The Guardian newspaper highlighted terrible working conditions for immigrant workers in Qatar and frequent deaths due to those conditions.
Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Alan Baldwin