Zwanziger wants Qatar stripped of 2022 World Cup, or fan boycott


Berlin, Dec. 18, (GNA/dpa) – Former FIFA executive Theo Zwanziger reiterated he wants Qatar stripped of hosting the 2022 World Cup, or at least a fan boycott of the tournament over ongoing human rights violations.

“As a fan I would not go to Qatar, such a visit cannot be explained from an ethical point of view. But the best thing would be if the new FIFA leadership strips Qatar of the World Cup,” Zwanziger told Friday’s edition of Germany’s Die Welt paper.

The statements of Zwanziger, a former German football federation president and on the executive committee of the ruling body FIFA from 2011 until last May, came around the latest publication by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) set for Friday on the situation of migrant workers in Qatar.

Die Welt said the expected number of deaths at construction sites in Qatar will be 7,000 before the first game in 2022, in the ITUC report, almost double an earlier estimate of 4,000 because of inadequate safety measures on the sites and exhaustion of workers.

It quoted ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow as saying that Qatar labour laws continue to violate international standards despite repeated calls for change from ITUC itself, other human rights organizations as well as FIFA.

The ITUC in October dismissed new labour laws in Qatar from 2017 as “a sham,” saying, they “add a new layer of repression for migrant workers and leave the kafala modern slavery system intact.”

Zwanziger conceded that “you have to realise in a disappointed and resigned way that our standards cannot be applied to Qatar. I had some hope for a while that they would bring themselves to make changes. They would be capable of it but they simply don’t want to.”

Zwanziger has been a long-standing critic of the Qatar World Cup and called for it to be stripped of the tournament in the past.

He has been taken to court by the football association and the state of Qatar over slander allegations after he referred to Qatar as a “cancerous growth on world football.”

The awarding of Qatar 2022 (and the Russia 2018 World Cup) by the FIFA executive committee in 2010 is under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities.

The choice of Qatar has been criticised ever since the FIFA vote, and the intense summer heat has also prompted to move the tournament to the winter in November and December, which will also prompt an overhaul of the international match calender

GNA

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