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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Parallel Portal

In November 2022 Qatar will become the first country in the Middle East to host the FIFA World Cup, an international sporting event which capitalises on the premise of bringing people and cultures together. But behind sanitised images celebrating global diversity, serious human rights concerns remain, particularly in relation to the treatment of the two million migrant workers who live and work in Qatar under the effective control of their employer (the Kafala system).

Migrant workers from East Africa, South Asia and South-East Asia comprise 95% of the workforce in Qatar and are integral to the delivery of the World Cup. The serious abuses they have suffered, and continue to suffer, risk being the real legacy of the FIFA World Cup unless concerted efforts are made by those with the power to influence – including companies and sponsors – to improve the situation.

Allegations include claims thousands of workers have died due to health and safety failures, workers being trapped in jobs, the charging of eye-watering recruitment fees, non-payment of wages, racial discrimination and cases of modern slavery. There are also concerns around civil and political rights, including denial of freedom of expression, women’s rights and the country’s record on LGBT rights. Under intense pressure Qatar recently introduced reforms that it says abolishes the Kafala system. However, our data demonstrates these workers remain at risk and there is evidence that the reforms are yet to be effectively enforced.

This Portal brings together in one place our own data on allegations associated with Qatar and the World Cup, as well as other publicly available information from NGOs and media reports on the impacts of the World Cup. It aims to provide transparency to users wishing to understand the human rights impacts and business and sports interests associated with the tournament. It maps the businesses involved in the preparation for the World Cup: from the construction companies that built the infrastructure to accommodate fans and teams, to the hotels and leisure facilities that will be enjoyed by all who visit Qatar in November and December 2022. It also provides information on sponsors and partners providing services to the tournament. The Portal will be updated as new information becomes public.

"Our beautiful game will be show-cased at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But there will be a very ugly side for too many migrant workers in toiling as maids, construction workers and security staff. Mounting evidence from our own tracking of labour abuse allegations, alongside the work of our partners and allies, cannot be ignored by those preparing to arrive for this global event. The hotels, FIFA, and the Qatari Government must set this to right.

Our Parallel Portal, which will be regularly updated in the run-up to kick-off, shines a light on the reality for workers behind the flashy football news and glossy promotional façade in official materials.

It maps labour and human rights abuses related to contractors, sponsors and national football associations, alongside stadiums, hotels and associated infrastructure. We believe true reform of the labour rights situation in Qatar must be the legacy of the World Cup – and these stakeholders all have a role to play."

Phil Bloomer, Executive Director Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Use the search field below to search projects and companies related to the World Cup, or use our quick buttons to see all hotels or stadiums.

Detained for speaking up for migrant workers' rights in Qatar

Malcolm Bidali

Having blogged about his work as a security guard on high-profile projects, Kenyan human rights activist Malcolm Bidali was detained in May 2021, kept in solitary confinement and charged with spreading disinformation on Qatar having been paid by a "foreign agent". He was released after he paid a fine and disabled his social media accounts.

Norwegian journalists reporting on conditions of migrant workers arrested

Halvor Ekeland and Lokman Ghorbani were arrested in November 2021 for "trespassing on private property and filming without a permit". Their equipment was confiscated. Subsequently, the Danish union of journalists issued a statement advising against travel to Qatar.

Abdullah Ibhais

In 2019, ex-Supreme Committee employee Abdullah Ibhais was charged with bribery, accusations Abdullah maintains are retaliation for his pushback on the way the Supreme Committee handled a case of unpaid and striking workers who were deployed to World Cup stadium sites.

Explore the data by abuse, sector and construction project

Who else is set to profit from the World Cup?

FIFA & Qatar World Cup 2022 Sponsors

Association with the world’s greatest sporting event is lucrative and attracts high-profile international brands. We'll be tracking sponsors' actions and engagement with human rights in the run-up to kick-off.

Football Associations

National Football Associations will play the central role at the Qatar 2022 World Cup and consequently have considerable power and influence to affect change in the country.

Wake-up Call: Exploitative recruitment risk to migrant workers in Qatar's World Cup hotels

What are multinational hotel brands doing to protect their migrant workers? Read our latest briefing

fifg, Shutterstock (purchased)

Outreach to FIFA & World Cup sponsors on migrant recruitment risks or due diligence

In May 2022, six months ahead of the World Cup, we asked sponsors to provide information on their human rights due diligence. Only four out of 19 responded to our request.


Outreach to national football associations on human rights risk assessments & due diligence

We asked FAs of 12 qualifying teams about steps taken to protect human rights as the countdown for the next World Cup begins, only half responded.

Allegations of labour abuse against migrant workers in Qatar

Our database and statistics are based on publicly reported allegations of labour rights abuse against migrant workers in Qatar, in which businesses are implicated. The actual numbers of incidents of abuse and affected migrant workers are believed to be higher, but the restrictive environment in which human rights organisations operate mean reporting is low.

Benny Marty, Shutterstock (purchased)

Register for Updates

We will be regularly updating the information in this portal, carrying out analysis and releasing our findings over the months leading up to Qatar 2022. If you're a journalist currently working on stories in this area, or planning to cover the World Cup next year, we'd be more than happy to keep you updated with the latest developments. Please fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

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