28 December 2014
2022 World Cup host Qatar has announced a series of reforms to improve working and living conditions of its majority migrant labour population that address material concerns but fall short of recommendations made in a government-sponsored study and demands of trade union and human rights activists.
The litmus test for Qatar’s effort to address the most heinous aspects of its controversial kafala or sponsorship system will be a judgement this spring by world soccer body FIFA on whether the measures are sufficient to uphold the Gulf state’s right to host one of the world’s foremost sporting mega events.
The Gulf Times, a major English-language Qatari paper with close ties to the ruling family in what is a controlled media environment, touted the reforms as evidence of the Gulf state’s “keenness to better labour standards.” The announcement of the reforms was Qatar’s making good on a pledge to change its labour laws by the end of this year.
…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 Soccerblog and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 30/12/2014