Paris (AFP) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino said migrant workers gain pride from hard work when he was asked about the conditions of workers building World Cup stadiums and infrastructure in Qatar.
Infantino said workers would feel proud about building stadiums for this year’s tournament in the Gulf nation.
The head of football’s world governing body was asked at the global conference of the Milken Institute in Los Angeles if FIFA would make “any sort of commitment” to help families of workers who died in Qatar.
While he did not directly respond to that question, he pointed to the introduction of a minimum wage and improved employment rights in Qatar.
“Let’s not forget one thing, when we speak about this topic, which is work, even hard work, tough work,” Infantino said.
“America is a country of immigration. My parents emigrated as well from Italy to Switzerland. Not so far, but still.
“When you give work to somebody, even in hard conditions, you give him dignity and pride. It’s not charity. You don’t make charity. You don’t give something to somebody and say, ‘OK, stay where you are. I feel good because I can give you something.'”
Infantino said three people had died in construction work for the stadiums.
Infantino said: “When it comes to the building of World Cup stadiums — we are investigating all these matters with external entities — it is actually three persons who died.”
He said other workers “might have died in other works and so on and of course FIFA is not the police of the world or responsible for everything that happens around the world.
“But thanks to FIFA, thanks to football, we have been able to address the status of all the 1.5 million workers working in Qatar.”
Qatar refutes the number of deaths of migrant workers reported by some international media and says it has introduced a series of reforms to its employment regulations since being selected to host the World Cup.
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