World Cup Sponsors Respond to Qatar Controversy

Fifa-world-cupPR Daily has gathered statements from corporate sponsors Visa, Coca-Cola, and Adidas about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Reports of worker abuse and deaths and the detention of BBC journalists have sparked controversy about Qatar as FIFA's choice for the event. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has urged sponsor to speak out. 

Visa was the first company to get FIFA's attention

 "We continue to be troubled by the reports coming out of Qatar related to the World Cup and migrant worker conditions. We have expressed our grave concern to FIFA and urge them to take all necessary actions to work with the appropriate authorities and organisations to remedy this situation and ensure the health and safety of all involved."

In response, FIFA issued this statement: 

"FIFA has repeatedly urged publicly and with the highest authorities in Qatar that fair working conditions for all workers in Qatar are imperative.

"Migrant workers have been working for many global companies in Qatar for decades, yet only now is real change happening in their working conditions.

"While there are huge construction programs under way in Qatar that have no connection to the FIFA World Cup, it is clear that the FIFA World Cup is serving as a catalyst for significant change.

"FIFA, alongside trade unions and human rights organisations, will continue to urge the Qatari authorities to accomplish reforms and abolish the Kafala system. Ultimately, however, sustainable change in the whole country can only be reached in a collective effort with all stakeholders involved, including international companies and governments."

The Qatari government issued a statement about detaining BBC reporters: 

"The Government Communications Office invited a dozen reporters to see-first-hand-some sub-standard labour accommodation as well as some of the newer labour villages. We gave the reporters free rein to interview whomever they chose and to roam unaccompanied in the labour villages.

"Perhaps anticipating that the government would not provide this sort of access, the BBC crew decided to do their own site visits and interviews in the days leading up to the planned tour. In doing so, they trespassed on private property, which is against the law in Qatar just as it is in most countries. Security forces were called and the BBC crew was detained."

The BBC expressed its dissatisfaction with the response: 

"We are pleased that the BBC team has been released but we deplore the fact that they were detained in the first place. Their presence in Qatar was no secret and they were engaged in a perfectly proper piece of journalism.

"The Qatari authorities have made a series of conflicting allegations to justify the detention, all of which the team rejects. We are pressing the Qatari authorities for a full explanation and for the return of the confiscated equipment."

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Discussion Starters: 

  • Read additional statements from Adidas and Coca-Cola. What else, if anything, should these companies say? 
  • Should the sponsors pull their support of the Word Cup 2022? 
  • What should FIFA do at this point?