FIFA World Cups have a history of controversies and seemingly, the next one in 2018 is also not devoid of the same. There have been concerns regarding the St. Petersberg stadium, the most expensive stadium in the world, hooliganism and violence in stadiums and now, with the FIFA Confederation Cup just days away, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has now claimed that it has documented cases of the 2018 World Cup workers being left unpaid, made to work in dangerously cold conditions and suffering reprisals for raising concerns.
Recently, Gianni Infantino admitted to there being some human rights breaches in Russia.
Jane Buchanan, HRW’s associate Europe and Central Asia director, said:
“Construction workers on World Cup stadiums face exploitation and abuse, and FIFA has not yet shown that it can effectively monitor, prevent, and remedy these issues.”
In response, FIFA said that “while in compliance with relevant labour standards continue to be found – something to be expected in a project of this scale – the overall message of exploitation on the construction sites portrayed by HRW does not correspond with FIFA’s assessment”.
A spokesperson said this assessment was based on inspections conducted by independent experts and trade union representatives on a quarterly basis.
FIFA also said that it was Russian authorities who “ultimately have the responsibility to protect human and labour rights on their territory and ensure that construction companies are held accountable”.
The blame game will continue, and it remains to be seen who ultimately takes responsibility for this human rights violation, a degradable and frankly embarrassing act in the 21st century.