04 February 2015
Qatari sports executives, in a bid to refute calls for depriving Qatar of its 2022 World Cup hosting rights, have asked their human rights and trade union critics as well as world football body FIFA to give them more time to address criticism of the Gulf state’s kafala or sponsorship system that puts employees at the mercy of their employers.
The plea for time reflects the fact that Qatar is caught in a Catch-22, with its critics pushing for a vote to withdraw its hosting rights during FIFA’s Congress this spring in Zurich and domestic resistance from a citizenry that fears that change will open the flood gates to Qatari loss of their culture and society because they account for only 12% of the population.
Under fire almost from the day in late 2010, on which it won its bid to host the World Cup for the legal and physical working and housing conditions of migrant labourers who account for a majority of the Gulf state’s population, Qatar has promised to introduce legal reforms. Two major Qatari institutions, the 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy and the Qatar Foundation, have adopted standards for contractors that have largely been welcomed by critics.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Wuerzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, a syndicated columnist, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 06/02/2015