As Qatar quickly develops to host the 2022 World Cup, FIFA came under pressure from sponsors Adidas, Coca-Cola, and Visa on Wednesday to demand that the government implement reforms for migrant workers.
High-profile sponsors of soccer’s premier event called for action as Amnesty International’s most recent study revealed that Qatar has not made any significant adjustments to enhance the living and working circumstances of the low-paid workers who construct its highways, hotels, stadiums, and skyscrapers.
FIFA said that the World Cup is “catalyzing substantial change” in the tiny Gulf nation’s labor regulations, which depend on more than a million temporary workers, many of whom come from South Asian countries like India and Nepal.
But, Visa’s statement is the strongest public show of concern from a FIFA sponsor over the condition of workers in the small, gas- and oil-rich nation to yet.
The World Cup and the working conditions for migrant workers in Qatar continue to bother us, according to reports, Visa stated in a statement. We have expressed our deep concern to FIFA and urged them to take all necessary steps to cooperate with the relevant authorities and organizations to address this issue and guarantee the health and safety of everyone involved.
Adidas, which has been the source of World Cup balls since 1970, claimed to be in “continuous conversation” with FIFA and mentioned the pressure the organization had already put on Qatar.
Adidas said in a statement that while there have been “substantial advances” and that these efforts are still underway, “everyone knows that more has to be done in a united effort with all parties involved.”
According to FIFA’s financial records, Adidas, Visa, and Coca-Cola each contribute about $30 million annually to fund the organization, which surprisingly chose Qatar as the first Middle Eastern nation to host the World Cup.
Since the vote in 2010, Qatar has been the subject of double-edged scrutiny on the treatment of low-paid migrant workers and allegations of corruption in the bid.
Coca-Cola made it clear in a statement that it “does not condone human rights abuses,” but unlike Adidas and Visa, it did not threaten to terminate its sponsorship due to worries about Qatar.