The Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV) has confirmed it has filed legal action against football governing body FIFA over its alleged complicity in the maltreatment of workers at the Qatar World Cup 2022 construction sites.
The lawsuit was lodged in the Swiss court by FNV on behalf of Bangladeshi migrant worker Nadim Sharaful Alam, who asked for compensation for damages
“The Swiss court is asked to rule that FIFA acted wrongfully by selecting Qatar for the World Cup 2022 without demanding the assurance that Qatar observes fundamental human and labour rights of migrant construction workers, including the abolition of the Kafala system,” FNV said in a statement, as quoted by The Guardian on Thursday.
In a letter sent to FIFA President Gianni Infantino in early October lawyers acting on behalf of the FNV and Alam gave the football body three weeks to admit complicity and pay damages.
While the damages sought by Alam were reported to be relatively modest, if the action is successful, it could set a legal precedent and open the door for thousands of other workers to make similar claims.
FIFA did not react publicly to reports in the media, but the organisation has so far denied responsibility for living and working conditions on the World Cup construction sites, claiming it could not be held accountable for wider societal problems in the host countries of tournament.
Qatar has been under fire from human rights organisations in recent years for alleged mistreatment of migrant workers, including those building the stadium and other infrastructure for the World Cup the country is to host in 2022.