Qatar 2022 World Cup: International footballers call on Qatari government and Fifa to stop 'modern day slavery'

Comes amid serious allegations of corruption and bribery at Fifa

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The Independent Online

Five international footballers, including former Tottenham midfield David Ginola, have signed an open letter that demands Qatar ends its use of “modern day slavery” ahead of the World Cup 2022.

The footballers’ petition comes amid mounting pressure on Fifa, the organisation that runs world football, over serious allegations of corruption and bribery.

Ginola's criticism of Qatar and Fifa comes mid rumours he may stand again for the group's presidency. He withdrew his first bid in January of this year after failing to recieve the necessary backing from football associations.

Fifa's decision to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup has been heavily criticised.

Organisations, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, point to Qatar’s Kefala laws, under which companies ‘sponsor’ migrant workers – often from direly poor nations – but effectively hold them hostage.

Investigations into the practise have found horrendous working conditions and practises, including the confiscation of workers’ passports, unsafe working conditions, and withheld pay.


Alongside Dixon, former French international Vikash Dhorasoo, current LA Galaxy midfielder and US international Robbie Rogers, Moroccan defender Abdes Ouaddou and former England player Lee Dixon have signed the petition on

In the open letter the footballers write: “Thousands of migrant labourers are slaving away in the heat of Qatar to build the infrastructure for the World Cup under a system of modern day slavery called ‘kafala’.”

If current trends continue the ITCU (International Trade Union Confederation) estimate that as many as 4,000 people could die by the time of the 2022 World Cup.

Fatality numbers for Qatar with worker fatality estimates for other major international sporting events in recent years.

The footballers call on Fifa, construction firms and the Qatari government to prevent the sport being “sullied by blood, sweat and tears of those who are building this spectacle.”

The petition, which has already gathered more than 800,000 signatures, noted that “last year one person died every other day building a billion dollar mega-project for Qatar's 2022 World Cup.”