Qatar 2022 WC will not be built on 'blood of innocents'
Hassan al-Thawadi, the man in charge of Qatar's World Cup preparations, has insisted the tournament will not be built on "the blood of innocents" as organisers come under increasing pressure over the issue of workers' rights.
"This is not a World Cup being built on the blood of innocents. That is unacceptable to anybody and most definitely to ourselves," said Thawadi, who was in Zurich to deliver a progress report on the country's preparations.
The focus of a meeting of Fifa's executive committee was expected to be the shift of the 2022 World Cup to winter to avoid the searing heat of the summer, but Fifa insiders said the renewed pressure over workers' rights had changed the terms of the debate.
Thawadi pointed to a workers' rights charter drawn up by the Qatar 2022 supreme committee and said it had been working with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty on the issue for some time.
He insisted that the decision to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time would accelerate progress in improving the rights of the migrant workers who are fuelling the rapid development of the infrastructure required.
"It's important to note this is an issue the government itself is looking into – and the government was looking into this before the World Cup came on board," said Thawadi.
"It's not a matter of the World Cup imposing pressure, that's not the case. If the World Cup is doing anything it is accelerating a number of these initiatives."
Thawadi insisted there was no prospect of Qatar being stripped of the World Cup over the issue.
"In terms of the migrant workers – when it comes to World Cup 2022 in particular – we've established strategy, a charter. This is out in public, we have established a worker welfare committee," he said.
"We are looking at provisions for our contractors and we are in dialogue with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to look at not only the contracts but the mechanisms to enforce them."
Read more: The Guardian