Thursday 06 October 2022, 20:45

Gianni Infantino says World Cup spotlight has led to better workers’ rights in Qatar

  • FIFA President was speaking at World Innovation Summit for Health 2022 in Doha

  • Removal of the most problematic elements of kafala system and establishment of minimum wages among key changes

  • International labour unions have endorsed the changes

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022 has helped put Qatar on the international map and helped spark a significant improvement in workers' rights in the country. Speaking at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in Doha, the FIFA President said: "Qatar has really become a central hub in the world. Not because of the World Cup, but certainly the spotlights of the World Cup have helped as well to put Qatar on an international map. And things have changed."

"We have been speaking about workers, about workers' rights and about human rights - some criticism was raised, rightfully, and changes have happened," he said. The FIFA President referenced the removal of the most problematic elements of the kafala system and the establishment of minimum wages as two key changes in Qatar. He also mentioned innovations such as the "stay cool" suits which significantly reduce body temperature for workers in high temperatures that have been implemented in recent years. Gianni Infantino also outlined how FIFA, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Qatar's Ministry of Public Health, would use the FIFA World Cup to send messages to the worldwide audience of over five billion people about the importance of getting exercise.

“One of the diseases in the modern world, especially for young boys and young girls, is to not be active, to sit at home in front of the phone and not make enough sports," he said. "So, one promotion campaign will be about being active, about moving, about doing sport. It doesn't have to be football although, of course, football is the best sport.” The FIFA President pointed out that many youngsters would be watching a World Cup for the first time, making it especially memorable for them. "To be able to send them a message about health, being active, doing sport is very important," he added. "We are proud to have done this because we feel that, at FIFA, we have an important role to play in society."