The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) is pleased that the FIFA 2022 World Cup will remain exclusively in Qatar. FIFA has announced that, following the feasibility study jointly conducted with the Government of Qatar, they have decided not to expand the FIFA 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams. Such a change would have meant including one or more neighbouring countries as co-hosts of the World Cup.
The FIFA statement indicates that, “Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.”
BWI opposed such a move in an open letter, “Will FIFA escape its human rights obligations through the back door?” on the basis that the human rights due diligence now required before hosting nations can be approved would be avoided through the proposed process and that it was clear that there were heavy risks to worker rights and other human rights in the Gulf countries.
BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, reacting to the announcement, said, “We are, of course, happy about the FIFA decision and we assume that their decision took into account the human rights situation in the Gulf region and the concerns expressed by BWI and many other organizations.”
Yuson added, “However, the hurried process, despite the positive outcome, serves as a reminder that in our work on mega-sporting events we must remain vigilant concerning any actions that do not seem to correspond to established policies. We look forward to the continuation of our cooperation with the Qatari authorities to ensure decent work, safety and health, and respect of labour and human rights of workers in construction for FIFA 2022 World Cup and beyond.”