With just under a year to go until the Qatar 2022 World Cup, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said that he has seen “great evolution” in the Gulf country.
Last week’s ILO report said that at least 50 of Qatar’s workers died in 2020, stating that the country was inadequately investigating these workplace deaths. Non-governmental organizations have alleged that migrant workers involved in World Cup infrastructure projects have been mistreated and abused.
Qatar’s Ministry of Labour said in a statement that “figures reported in media on migrant worker fatalities have been wildly misleading.”
“The government has been transparent about the health of our foreign population, and in reality, levels of mortality in Qatar are on par with wider demographics globally. Still, improving the health and well-being of foreign workers remains a top priority,” the Ministry added.
While Infantino said that “more needs to be done,” he stated he had seen progress made in the Gulf nation.
“I’ve seen the great evolution that has happened in Qatar, which was recognized – I mean not by FIFA – but by labor unions around the world, by international organizations,” Infantino told Davies.
“Of course, more needs to be done – obviously, it’s a process. I think we can say that without the World Cup and … the spotlight coming from the World Cup, the whole process would have been taking much more time.
“Steps have been made, steps will be made. I think we need also to recognize the positives if we want to encourage those who have embraced a way like Qatar is to continue in that way, recognize what has been done, look at the concrete facts and figures make the necessary criticisms as well, but always try to be constructive and to see what has been done and what can be done more in a positive sense.”
Set to be the first ever World Cup staged in the winter, the 2022 edition is set to kick-off in Qatar on November 21 and conclude on December 18.