11 January 2015
A decision by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to abandon plans to adopt a unified contract for domestic workers increases pressure on Qatar to significantly revamp its controversial labour regime in a bid to fend off efforts to deprive it of its right to host the 2022 World Cup. It also highlights the pitfalls Qatar and other Gulf states have encountered in tinkering with their labour systems amid mounting international criticism.
The GCC’s failure to agree on a unified contract for domestic workers, the most vulnerable group operating under the controversial kafala or sponsorship system, comes as Qatar braces itself for a debate on reform of world football body FIFA at the European Parliament on January 21 hosted by British parliamentarian Damien Collins, a critic of the integrity of Qatar’s World Cup bid, that could potentially generate more negative headlines.
It also comes against the backdrop of a recent warning by Theo Zwanziger, the FIFA executive committee member tasked with monitoring reform of the Qatari labour regime, that Qatar has yet to show progress and risks being deprived of its right to host the World Cup at FIFA’s congress in May.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 12/01/2015