A stone’s throw from the Dutch national team hotel in Zeist, Ramesh Prasad Neupane told his story on Saturday’s screen. The Nepalese man (45) was working at Khalifa Stadium in Qatar. There, the Orange team will play Ecuador on November 25. Neuban has collaborated on a human documentary that will be shown on TV on November 19. A preview was shown during a discussion of the ‘heated debate’ about the World Cup at the Oud London Hotel.
Nioban Veh says he went to Qatar to earn money for his family. Before leaving he was promised 800 euros a month. In fact, he got 50 euros. He had to operate a barrier at the construction site. When there was a power outage, the bulkhead fell over a car. The employer blamed him. Then he worked for three years for nothing, to pay off 3,900 euros in damage. He couldn’t go home. The employer had his passport with him.
Louis van Gaal gave permission
There are thousands of stories about the exploited migrant workers who helped organize the World Cup. Some did not survive. The Dutch national team players will have a chat with migrant workers still working in Qatar in the days leading up to Orange’s opening match. This is what KNVB’s General Secretary Gijs de Jong said during the discussion. National coach Louis van Gaal gave permission for that meeting. Migrant workers are nominated by the Building & Wood Workers, an international union organization of which the FNV is also a member.
The central question in the debate is who will pay the “hospital bill” for the World Cup and who will compensate victims like Nioban and relatives. Amnesty International said in May that FIFA and the organization in Qatar should release €440 million in compensation. According to Floor Beuming of Amnesty, a participant in the discussion, FIFA will soon come up with an answer.
“FIFA has been training and has been saying for a while: we are coming up with something. There will undoubtedly be a lot of discussion within the FIFA. We have now heard that they are coming up with something at the end of September or the beginning of October.”
The KNVB considers it to be FIFA, the country organization and companies from Asia, America and Europe that built the World Cup facilities there. 38 Dutch companies also participated. Gerard Arinc of the Pro2 Foundation, committed to the poor in Nepal, thinks KNVB should step in, too. Arink to De Jong: “Why doesn’t KNVB say: ‘We don’t want to earn a euro from this World Cup?'” The KNVB chief executive believes that providing compensation is “up to the other parties”.
Players can still make a contribution. Last week, during the training camp in Zest, they were shown a video from Amnesty on the situation in Qatar. “Van Gaal then said to the selection: ‘Guys, this is important,'” de Jong said. In the discussion, Beoming called the fact that they were also willing to talk to migrant workers as a “nice gesture.”
But that wouldn’t change much about the situation there. It would be great if the players talked more. This really helps. I told them: Of course you are not responsible, but the only reason for taking steps in the right direction in Qatar is for full attention. Football players’ voices have more influence than my own. Qatar itself is not pushing Ronald de Boer and David Beckham forward for nothing.”
Paragraph on human rights
In the discussion, MEP Lara Wolters (PvdA) raised the question of whether tournaments should be reserved for countries where human rights are violated. An independent advisory body within FIFA on human rights has been dissolved. Although the FIFA included a section on human rights for future events in 2016, the FIFA Club World Cup was awarded to China in 2019. De Jong noted that only a small group of countries are concerned about this within FIFA. “Allocations are voted on by 211 countries. For 25 or 30 maybe 40 countries at the most, this is an important component.”
In other words, there is no guarantee of the future. Saudi Arabia wants to bid to host the World Cup in 2030. De Jong lacks the support of (international) governments on these kinds of issues. “We go to Qatar if we need gas or we need the country to take in refugees from Afghanistan, but you don’t hear much about this.”
Working for the victims of the World Cup
To financially assist exploited migrant workers and relatives of World Cup victims from Nepal, Pro2 Foundation is the measure Don’t turn your back I started. The goal is to raise funds by selling the jerseys, a copy of the jersey worn by the Dutch national team at the 1974 World Cup. After consulting with the Cruyff family, the Cruyff clothing brand altruistically decided to participate. The pre-sale has already brought in €50,000, it was announced on Saturday in Zest. This money will help families educate the children of former migrant workers in Qatar.
human rights? For FIFA, they are just public relations
Now FIFA seems to be paying more attention to human rights violations. But this is an illusion, says PvdA MEP Lara Wolters in an opinion piece in Trouw.
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