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World Cup fans back compensation for Qatar migrant workers: poll

A majority of World Cup fans support FIFA compensating migrant workers for rights abuses during preparations for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, a poll commissioned by Amnesty International and released on Thursday showed.

Qatar has repeatedly faced criticism over conditions for migrant workers, but insists it has made major improvements in recent years.

The YouGov poll surveyed more than 17,000 adults from 15 countries – mostly in Europe, but also the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Morocco and Kenya, Amnesty said in a statement.

Seventy-three percent of respondents said they “strongly support” or “tend to support” football’s governing body using some of its 2022 World Cup revenues to compensate migrant workers, according to the figures.

Out of those who said they were likely to watch at least one game, 84 percent backed the proposal.

“There is still time for FIFA to do the right thing,” Amnesty’s Steve Cockburn said in a statement.

“Supporters don’t want a World Cup that’s indelibly tainted by human rights abuses.”

Ten per cent of those surveyed said they “tend to oppose” or “strongly oppose” any compensation, while 17 percent were undecided.

Qatar has faced accusations of under-reporting deaths and injuries among migrant workers and of not doing enough to alleviate harsh conditions. Unpaid wages have also been frequently raised.

The Qatari government has highlighted major reforms it has introduced, including a minimum wage, dismantling a scheme that gave employers stringent rights over workers, and imposing stricter rules on working in the summer heat.

The poll also showed that more than two-thirds of respondents wanted their country’s football associations to “speak out publicly about the human rights issues” associated with the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty said.

In May, human rights organisations, fan groups and trade unions launched a campaign urging FIFA to set aside funds to compensate workers and prevent further abuses.

“Following the launch of the campaign, FIFA has told Amnesty International they are considering the proposal but have issued no public response to date,” the rights group said.

Amnesty International called on FIFA and Qatar “to set up a remediation programme… before the tournament kicks off” on November 20.

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