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Fifa urged to act on workers abuse

Football's governing body needs to act to improve the treatment of thousands of migrant workers building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup, a senior Labour politician said.

Jim Murphy, the shadow international development secretary, said the "widespread" abuse of workers in Qatar was the "ugly secret of the beautiful game".

He demanded action from football's governing body Fifa, and also urged the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to speak out on the issue.

Mr Murphy, the MP for East Renfrewshire, is due to travel to Qatar to meet construction workers there next week.

Ahead of that he raised the issue at Scottish Labour's conference in Perth, telling activists there: "The treatment of these powerless migrant workers is the ugly secret of the beautiful game."

He said many of these workers "are tricked into travelling thousands of miles, many of them have their passports confiscated, many of them go without pay, live in terrible conditions, work long hours and have unimaginable debts".

The Labour MP said: "This isn't individual instances, it's widespread as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have researched and testified.

"The late and great Bill Shankly was wrong when he said, 'Some people believe football is a matter of life and death I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.' Because in Qatar today football is a matter of life and death for far too many. Hundreds have already died and thousands are in danger."

He insisted: "No-one should have to die to bring us a sporting tournament.

"So things have got to change, we can no longer tolerate this. Fifa has got to act, the SFA has got to break its silence on the abuse in Qatar because no World Cup should be built on the back of forced labour and the dead bodies of migrant workers."


From Belfast Telegraph