• World Cup

FIFA blameless over Qatar workers' deaths - Blatter

ESPN staff
October 4, 2013 « Hyypia 'dreams' of Liverpool job | Chartbeat test »
Sepp Blatter has given his "sympathy" to dying construction workers in Qatar © Getty Images
Enlarge

President Sepp Blatter insists FIFA cannot be held accountable after reports that dozens of Nepalese migrant workers had died in appalling conditions on building sites for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A report by the Guardian newspaper last week highlighted terrible working conditions, amounting to "modern-day slavery", which had led to the deaths.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the 2022 organising committee chief executive, has already insisted that he will look into the reports with the "utmost seriousness".

But Blatter did concede that FIFA could not "turn a blind eye" to the issue.

Blatter said: "We can't assume the duty of supervising security on building sites in the world. What has happened now, we are not indifferent to that. We can't turn a blind eye and say this does not concern us. That is why a trip to Qatar is planned.

"You can plainly see what Qatar has already done. We have 209 associations, in 209 associations you have different social and cultural associations. We can only do something when we see and when we hear and when we know ourselves - this has been confirmed by the Qataris themselves that something is amiss.

"The workers' rights will be the responsibility for Qatar and the companies - many of them European companies - who work there. It is not FIFA's primary responsibility, but we cannot turn a blind eye. Yet it is not a direct intervention from FIFA that can change things.

"The executive committee requested the president of FIFA to go to Qatar. I will meet with the new emir for a courtesy visit to confirm the World Cup 2022. We will also touch on this concern, the working conditions, but we are not the ones that can actually change it."

Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Feeds Feeds: ESPN staff

ESPN staff Close