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World Cup: England FINALLY speak out on Qatar with players set to meet migrant workers

England players will meet migrant workers deployed on Qatar's World Cup construction projects when they come to the country for the tournament in November

England have finally broken their silence over abuses against migrant workers in Qatar, with Football Association chiefs pledging to lobby FIFA over new labor protection laws.

Migrant workers who helped build the stadiums and infrastructure ahead of this winter’s World Cup finals will be invited to the England base and talk to the players.

The FA has called for any worker injury or death on construction projects to be compensated and will push for a migrant worker center to be established in Qatar.

A survey by Sportsmail last year found that migrant workers in Qatar were paid just £12 a day to work 11-hour shifts at scorching temperatures in excess of 100°F (38°C).

Amnesty International has called on FIFA to set up a compensation fund of at least £350million for workers who have suffered ‘human rights abuses’ – the sum is equivalent to the FIFA Cup prize pool. world.

But the FA statement did not include any comment from England manager Gareth Southgate and the only visible form of protest will be Harry Kane wearing a ‘OneLove’ rainbow captain’s armband.

England players will meet migrant workers deployed on Qatar's World Cup construction projects when they come to the country for the tournament in November

England players will meet migrant workers deployed on Qatar’s World Cup construction projects when they come to the country for the tournament in November

England captain Harry Kane will wear a rainbow armband

England captain Harry Kane will wear a ‘OneLove’ rainbow armband in upcoming matches

Kane will join the captains of the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales in the anti-discrimination gesture, starting by Friday’s UEFA Nations League game against Italy in Milan.

The “OneLove” campaign was originally the idea of ​​the Dutch team.

Kane said: “I am honored to join my fellow national team captains in supporting the important OneLove campaign.

“As captains we may all be competing against each other on the pitch, but we are united against all forms of discrimination.

“It is even more relevant at a time when division is common in society. Wearing the armband together on behalf of our teams will send a clear message when the world is watching.

Doha's Lusail Stadium, which will host the World Cup final on December 18

Doha’s Lusail Stadium, which will host the World Cup final on December 18

The eight host stadiums are in and around the Qatari capital of Doha

The eight host stadiums are in and around the Qatari capital of Doha

The FA statement continued: “For over a year, the FA has been in dialogue with numerous human rights organisations, trade unions and non-governmental organisations. [NGOs] to prepare Qatar 2022, in order to have a balanced understanding of the main issues of the country and the wider region.

“While understanding that there is still room for improvement in many areas at national level, the aim has been to learn how best to use our position as the governing body of national football while ensuring the good -to be England supporters, players and support team.”

“In addition, FA representatives have visited the country on several occasions – including as part of the UEFA Qatar task force – and have had regular conversations with local authorities, migrant workers , charities and grassroots organizations to better understand their day-to-day experiences and challenges.

“The FA’s position is that any injury or death related to a construction project should be compensated and the World Cup is no different.”

“Similarly, the FA supports the concept of a center for migrant workers and has lobbied FIFA for an urgent progress update.

“After the implementation of progressive legislation to give rights to workers, the concept of a center is to ensure that this legislation is implemented and that there is an awareness of the new laws of the work and legal support if needed.

“The FA has also always been clear that the companies it partners with in Qatar must uphold the required labor rights standards and provide strong and legitimate support to their employees.

“FA representatives continue to travel regularly to the country to speak directly with service providers, as well as to liaise with FIFA, which allocates many services used by competing teams as organisers. tournaments.”

Football fans, however, were unimpressed with the FA’s statement and accused the governing body of not taking enough action – decrying their stance of simply incorporating rainbow armbands and saying that it was ineffective.

One supporter said: “So England’s response to Qatar WC is for the captain to wear a ‘Stop Discrimination’ armband and for the Qatar government to pay the families of deceased migrant workers.” (over 6,500 so far) The problem is that the government of Qatar says no migrants have died. Still, the armband will show them.

Another simply wrote: “Don’t play in Qatar then.”

A response also echoed that sentiment, writing, “If you really wanted to fight discrimination you wouldn’t go but money talks I guess!”

“I’m sure this will make all the difference,” read a sarcastically written Tweet. “Be realistic and boycott.”

The countdown to the Qatar World Cup, which begins on November 20

The countdown to the Qatar World Cup, which begins on November 20

Another said the FA were taking a ‘half measure’, adding: ‘Having integrity is wrong. Or drop politics. They opted for a half measure but of course still want to play in a WC and win £. It’s hypocritical, I think.

Adding to the FA’s statement, its chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “We come together as a group to wear the OneLove armband until the end of the season as a visible show of support for inclusion in the football – something we strongly believe in and have consistently supported.

“Together with the other members of UEFA’s human rights working group, we are pushing FIFA to take stock of the concept of a center for migrant workers in Qatar, to provide advice and assistance to migrant workers.

“It is clear that Qatar has introduced progressive legislation in recent years to give rights to workers, so this concept will help this legislation to take effect. We have met various workers in Qatar during our visits to the country and while they recognize the substantial progress, there are areas where additional support would make a huge difference.

“We continue to push for the principle of compensation for the families of migrant workers who have lost their lives or been injured in construction projects.

“Once again, we urge FIFA to provide an update on the compensation fund which has always been referred to as a safety net where workers and their families have not been able to obtain compensation from construction companies. .”

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