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Top French federation officials headed to Qatar after living conditions of workers at World Cup base camp exposed
byAgence France-Presse, Oct 15, 2022
French soccer authorities said Friday they would carry out their own checks on the working conditions of migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the World Cup after new revelations in a TV documentary.
The France Televisions program aired on Thursday showed the crowded bedrooms and filthy toilets of migrant workers in the Qatari capital.
The national broadcaster said the images were filmed secretly before the summer as part of an investigation into the controversy surrounding the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East.
Qatar has long argued that attacks on its labor rights record are unjustified, instead highlighting reforms it has carried out over the past decade.
One sequence in the France Televisions program shows the accommodation for the employees of a private security firm, which is sub-contracted by the hotel where the France team will be based during the tournament, which kicks off on Nov. 20.
Another company featured in the documentary is a sub-contractor for the French hotel chain Accor, which is a major supplier of accommodations during the World Cup.
The documentary showed bedrooms infested with insects where workers slept in bunkbeds. The toilets and bathroom facilities were dirty and the walls were stained with damp.The workers cooking facilities were little more than a sink and two gas rings and the air conditioning in one of the bedrooms had broken down, leaving the temperature at 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some of the workers interviewed said they hardly ever had a day off and their overtime was not paid.
On Friday, the French federation (FFF) announced it would send an on-site verification delegation to Qatar on Tuesday.
It will be made up of FFF vice-presidentPhilippe Diallo; CEOFlorence HardouinandErwan le Prevost, Director of Institutional and International Relations.
The FFF said it had already put in place a series of checks concerning the six contractors for the teams hotel in Doha.
As a result of these checks, the contract with the security firm had been terminated because of a number of unacceptable irregularities and the contractors failure to respect workers rights such as providing decent accommodation and confiscating workers passports.
A letter from the FFF cited in the program said the World Cup was an opportunity for progress but taking part in it did not mean it would turn a blind eye.
Reaction lacked humanity. FFF presidentNoel Le Graettold an interviewer in the documentary I could show you lots of pictures like that in lots of countries, even in some not far from (France). He claimed there was still time to put things right.
Frances sports ministerAmelie Oudea-Casterasaid she was shocked by Le Graets reaction.
This reaction shocked me, I thought it ... lacked humanity and even coherence, the minister told RTL.
Qatars approach to the thousands of migrant workers working in the Gulf state has come under the microscope as the World Cup kickoff approaches.
The Qatari authorities say many of the attacks on its labor rights record are unjustified and have highlighted reforms it has carried out.
They include the virtual abolition of the Kafala system that gave employers extensive powers over workers, including their right to change jobs and to leave the country.
Authorities now monitor salary payments far more closely, after many workers said employers had stolen or withheld their pay and the government now has a blacklist of companies that fail to pay wages.
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