As construction for the 2022 FIFA World Cup began in Qatar, labor issues quickly rose to the top of global consciousness. Mary Harvey, CEO for Centre for Sport and Human Rights, asked what steps the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has undertaken to ensure safety. Mahmoud Qutub, Workers’ Welfare and Labour Rights Executive Director, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, described how the government engaged with its advocates and critics and worked to educate businesses on their obligations. They also provided improved safety measures around heat exposure for workers.
Max Tuňón, Head of Qatar Office for the International Labour Organization, emphasized the importance of heat stress and its impact on workers’ health. This issue informed national legislation to ensure the health and safety of the workers and now informed laws worldwide. From 2018 to where we are now we have seen a tremendous amount of change since 2018. Although there are still many issues that remain to be resolved, 86% of low-wage workers said that labor reforms had had a positive impact on their lives.
Legacy can take many forms, noted Prof. Andy Spalding, Professor at University of Richmond School of Law. Labor reforms create a legacy and standard for future hosts. Looking ahead to the 2026 World Cup, Spaulding notes that one focus will be on human rights obligations, largely a foreign concept in North America.
“How do we ensure a positive social and human rights legacy from the 2022 World Cup?”
Mary Harvey, CEO, Centre for Sport and Human Rights
“One of the things we did identify early on is that companies just didn’t know what they didn’t know.”
Mahmoud Qutub, Workers’ Welfare and Labour Rights Executive Director, Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy
“The story is how standards that were developed specifically for World Cup work were then translated into national policy.”
Prof. Andy Spalding, Professor, University of Richmond School of Law
“The World Cup is not the finishing line.”
Max Tuňón, Head of Qatar Office, International Labour Organization