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Irish trade union shows World Cup the ‘red card’ for abuse of workers in Qatar

More than 200 craft worker delegates have taken a stand against the controversial tournament.

Qatar and FIFA shown Red Card by 200 craft workers at Connect conference at the Clayton Hotel Wexford.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

An Irish trade union has taken a stand against FIFA and the controversial Qatar World Cup for allegations of abuse of workers that continue to haunt the tournament.

The Gulf nation went on a stadium-building spree after being confirmed as hosts of the competition, relying mostly on migrant workers from Asia and Africa to complete the arena.

However, many of the workers have said they received little to no pay for their work in dangerous conditions.

In February 2021, the Guardian reported that 6,500 labourers had died in Qatar since it was awarded the World Cup

Authorities dispute the figure and say accident records show there were 37 deaths among workers between 2014 and 2020, three of which were "work-related".

But now, Craft workers at the Connect Trade Union have pushed back against the competition at their conference in Wexford.

More than 200 delegates have held up a ‘red card’ for FIFA and Qatar’s “failure to adequately address workers’ rights issues prior to the kick off.”

The first game gets underway against Ecuador and the host nation at 4pm tomorrow.

Speaking on an emergency motion on the issue of workers’ rights abuses in Qatar, Paddy Kavanagh, the Connect General Secretary said: “Connect Trade Union has a long and proud history of supporting workers’ rights across the globe. From its earliest days our Union has stood against exploitative practices in Ireland and also in an international context.

"We condemn FIFA for its failure to adequately consider the issue of workers’ rights in deciding a host for what is perhaps the world’s premier cultural event.

"At the centre of such events should be an idea of fair play and respect of human rights.

"From its earliest days our Union has stood against exploitative practices in Ireland and also in an international context.”

Workers raised the red card to prompt action from sporting bodies against workers’ rights abuses, said union representative John Brennan.

"This should take the form of a workers rights audit of countries playing a role in all future decisions about where major sporting tournaments should be hosted.”

The union represents construction, electrical, technical and engineering workers across Ireland.

Earlier today, FIFA president Gianni Infantino took aim at critics of Qatar in a monologue that has been labelled “bizarre.”

The rights of the LGBTQ+ community and workers in Qatar have been the source of heavy criticism in the lead up to first touch.

"Today I feel Qatari. Today I feel Arabic. Today I feel African. Today I feel gay. Today I feel disabled. Today I feel (like) a migrant worker,” he said.

"Of course I am not Qatari, I am not an Arab, I am not African, I am not gay, I am not disabled.

"But I feel like it, because I know what it means to be discriminated, to be bullied, as a foreigner in a foreign country. As a child I was bullied - because I had red hair and freckles, plus I was Italian so imagine.”

He said European critics have “many lessons” to learn from the western world in a speech than has received major public backlash.

"I think for what we Europeans have been doing the last 3,000 years we should be apologising for next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons to people,” he said.

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