FIFA President Gianni Infantino insisted on Friday that the 2022 World Cup would be hosted by Qatar as planned.
Infantino told reporters in Doha: “Of course, the World Cup will take place in Qatar in 2022.”
This came during a joint press conference held on Friday morning by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Qatar Football Association and the FIFA on the sidelines of the semi-final of the Workers’ Cup in its fourth edition.
Infantino expressed his sincere thanks and appreciation to HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani for the warm reception accorded to him, adding: “It is a matter of pride my presence in Qatar, and the pleasure of meeting HH the Emir of Qatar, and to see personal commitment given by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani , not only for the finals of the 2022 world Cup, but also his interest in issues related to workers’ standards in order to ensure their full rights. “
Infantino announced the creation of an oversight body with independent members to monitor the systems in place to ensure decent working conditions at FIFA World Cup stadiums.
With this initiative, FIFA will step up its efforts in overseeing the set-up by the SC. The composition of this new body, which will be led by FIFA, would include relevant sectors of civil society and other relevant FIFA stakeholders to oversee all FIFA competitions. The FIFA president was pleased with the positive reaction and the support offered by the Qatari authorities for this initiative.
“Over the last few weeks I have been following very closely the discussions on FIFA and human rights, particularly around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar,” said Infantino.
“I have seen the measures taken by the SC and I am confident that we are on the right track. An encouraging example is the SC’s response to issues that have occurred, such as the ones raised by Amnesty International in its latest report, which were already tackled by the SC prior to the release of the report. This shows that the mechanisms in place are working related to FIFA World Cup construction although challenges remain.”
Fair conditions for workers
The hosting of the FIFA World Cup is an opportunity to set a benchmark in terms of sustainable and fair conditions for all workers in Qatar. In connection with the 2022 event, this body will validate the quality and effectiveness of the due diligence processes in place, will analyse the regular findings of the independent auditing system, the remediation measures taken by the SC to address any issues and report about findings, recommendations and progress, with the aim of increasing transparency around this important topic.
The FIFA president reiterated that as a global sporting body FIFA’s primary responsibility is to serve the game and stage football events. However, labour issues especially in the construction sector are a global challenge and we understand that everybody involved has a shared responsibility. Infantino concluded that “we take our responsibility seriously and are committed to playing our part.”
“We had a very open and positive discussion on the 2022 FIFA World Cup and a wide range of topics,” Infantino said. “I told the Prime Minister the measures taken so far by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy to ensure fair working conditions on FIFA World Cup construction sites are going in the right direction.
“However, I made it very clear that it is essential for the Qatari authorities to ensure that the country complies to international standards on the treatment of workforce and to continue at full pace with the implementation of the promised measures. The hosting of the FIFA World Cup is an opportunity to set a benchmark in terms of sustainable and fair conditions for all workers in Qatar.
“I was pleased to see the personal commitment of the Prime Minister not only to the 2022 FIFA World Cup but also to treat with the utmost importance the issues of workers’ standards so as to guarantee their rights in full. FIFA and I will take the Qatari authorities at their word and I look forward to the concrete actions which will be the real testament of will.”
Western media campaigns
In response to a question by Qatar News Agency (QNA) about repeated press campaigns by some Western media and, and how FIFA would deal with them in the future, Infantino said:
“Of course, and no doubt we will address these criticisms directly, and I am committed to addressing all the criticism and rumors and also committed to addressing all the issues and put an end of all that would be detrimental to football.
On Thursday, the FIFA president visited the construction site of the Khalifa International Stadium and the accommodation facilities at Labour City.
Following the site visits, he and his delegation received a comprehensive updated on the various aspects of preparations for the FIFA World Cup by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy Secretary General Hassan al-Thawadi and other senior football officials in the country.
He used the occasion to get an update from the President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) HE Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmad al-Thani on the latest football developments in Qatar.
Giving his thoughts on his visit, Infantino said: “It was very important for me to personally get an impression of the preparations from a different perspective. It was very interesting and I want to thank Hassan al-Thawadi and his team. There is a big commitment from the Qatari people.
“I can see the hard work being done by the SC. It is right that the FIFA World Cup is not just about organising the game’s premier event but also about achieving positive and sustainable change. 2016 is an important year as we need to ensure that we have the best structure in place for the 2022 FIFA World Cup operations. The SC can count on my continued support in helping to make this event a success.”
For his part, al-Thawadi said: “We are honoured to have hosted the FIFA president here in Qatar and to be able to show him first-hand the continued progress taking place on stadium construction, workers’ welfare, our overall tournament preparations and legacy planning.
“It has been a very positive visit and the productive discussions held show us we are on the right track to delivering an outstanding and historic first ever FIFA World Cup in the Middle East. Qatar will be ready and will meet all FIFA’s requirements in terms of stadiums and infrastructure well in advance of the tournament. Crucially, we are also firmly committed to leaving a lasting social legacy after the tournament – including in the area of workers’ welfare, where we continue to make progress.”
Before departing to Zurich, the FIFA president attended the semi-final of the Workers Football Cup. Infantino was moved by the atmosphere: “An amazing event showing once again the power of football. It is fantastic to see the passion of the workers. I want to take this opportunity to pay my respect and gratitude to the workers helping shape the FIFA World Cup. “
This is Infantino’s first visit to Qatar since his election on February 26 as FIFA president, succeeding Joseph Blatter. He also recently visited Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup.Last updated: April 22 2016 08:14 PM
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