Northern Ireland football officials urged to raise human rights concerns in Qatar
The Irish Football Association (IFA) has been urged to raise human rights concerns with FIFA and the Qatari authorities when officials travel to the country for the opening ceremony of the World Cup later this month.
Amnesty International has written to the president, chief executive and chairman of the IFA, which governs the Northern Ireland football team, in advance of the FIFA World Cup, which is due to kick off in the Gulf state on 20 November 2022.
A number of senior IFA officials are believed to intend to travel to Qatar for the World Cup despite Northern Ireland not qualifying for the finals.
Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland programme director, said: “If the IFA president, Conrad Kirkwood, or other senior officials intend to travel to Qatar on behalf of Northern Ireland football, they must take the opportunity to unambiguously stand against human rights abuses when they meet with FIFA.
“Qatar has an appalling human rights record, including laws which discriminate against women and LGBT people, and its lax labour laws have allowed the massive exploitation of migrant workers in the construction of World Cup infrastructure.
“Having awarded Qatar the right to host the World Cup without making human rights improvements a key condition, FIFA must take now responsibility over addressing abuses committed in connection with the tournament.”
He added: “We’ve provided the IFA with detailed research on the abuse and deaths of migrant workers linked to the building of World Cup infrastructure.
“The IFA has a moral obligation to speak up for human rights if they’re going to publicly endorse the World Cup by attending the opening ceremony or other events.
“The IFA should support our call for the creation of a compensation scheme for workers funded by both the Qatari authorities and FIFA.”