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FIFA should pick new 2022 World Cup host, trade unions say

FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after meeting the presidents of the soccer federations of Israel and Palestine at the FIFA h
FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses the media after meeting the presidents of the soccer federations of Israel and Palestine at the FIFA h

By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA should re-run the vote which elected Qatar as 2022 World Cup hosts and choose a venue which "respects workers" the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) said on Friday.

The ITUC added that an offer from FIFA president Sepp Blatter to pay a courtesy visit to the Emir of Qatar was an inadequate response to reports that dozens of migrant workers had died in the country over the course of the summer.

"FIFA has the power to make workers' rights a condition of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup," said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow in a statement.

"There is still time to re-run the vote to choose a venue which respect workers."

"Workers from countries including India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and increasingly Africa are used as forced labor, denied the right to join a union, live in squalid living conditions and often are not paid the wages they are promised," she said.

"Scores of healthy young men are dying. This web of deadly practices draws in international companies, the Government of Qatar and FIFA.

"The settlement of this global dispute is dependent on actions by FIFA and the political will of the Qatari authorities, which are still absent," she said.

"FIFA's offer is an insult to the bereaved families."

The ITUC said it had first outlined the situation to FIFA two years ago. It estimated that 4,000 workers would die in Qatar before the start of the 2022 World Cup if no action was taken.

"Qatar's damage limitation exercise will not resolve the problem of forced labor in Qatar.

"The promise to recruit inspectors to police defective laws...will not stop workers dying in Qatar, nor will engaging a law firm for an 'independent review' make any real difference."

Blatter said in a news conference on Friday that FIFA was not responsible for the workers' safety but would not turn a blind eye to the situation.

The ITUC, based in Brussels, represents 175 million workers through its 311 affiliated organizations in 155 countries and territories.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)

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