To: FIFA World Cup 2014 sponsors Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai-Kia, Emirates, Sony and Visa

Stop sponsoring slave labor in Qatar as part of World Cup 2022

Stop sponsoring slave labor in Qatar as part of World Cup 2022

Drop your sponsorship of FIFA - the governing body of the organization responsible for soccer's major international tournaments - unless and until bids for the 2022 World Cup are reopened because of host country Qatar’s routine use of slave labor, widely-reported corruption in the selection process, and the unsafe working conditions, including dangerous temperatures.

Why is this important?

Imagine working on an empty stomach for 24 straight hours, being denied free drinking water in scorching desert heat, sleeping with 12 other workers in cramped filthy hostel rooms, and then getting assaulted by managers for complaining about working conditions that basically amounts to modern slavery.

Those are some of the reported details about the dangerous and oppressive work conditions in Qatar - a tiny, wealthy country in the Middle East - which is deploying thousands of migrant workers from poor countries to build fancy soccer stadiums to host a World Cup.

The conditions in Qatar are dire. As many as 4,000 workers could reportedly die in abhorrent working conditions, if the world community does not speak out with force. Qatar's bid to host the World Cup has also been riddled with widely reported allegations of corruption.

I’ve loved “the beautiful game” since my parents signed me up for YMCA youth league when I was 7. I remember the excitement of the USA qualifying for its first World Cup in 40 years in 1990. I watched every game I could when the United States hosted the Cup in 1994. I celebrated Brandi Chastain and the US Women’s National Team’s World Cup championship in 1999 like they were my own sisters. Love of soccer is in my blood and has permeated my entire life.

So of course this year, like millions of Americans and soccer crazy fans around the world, I have been following every second of the action from the World's largest sporting event, the 2014 edition of the FIFA World Cup - FIFA is world soccer’s governing body - this year in Brazil. But, as a progressive activist I am deeply concerned about the unfolding human rights disaster in Qatar that threatens to tarnish one of the few cultural activities that allows people to connect across the differences of language, gender, social status, or country of origin.

The combination of abusive working conditions, conditions of thousands of virtually enslaved foreign workers in brutal labor campuses, the sped up urgency of new World Cup-related construction, and the recent death of workers, led the International Trade Union Confederation (IUTC) to estimate that between Spring 2014 and the start of the 2022 Cup, 4000 workers will die creating the physical infrastructure for the world’s largest sporting event in Qatar.[1]

Additionally, Qatar's bid to hold the World Cup has been tainted with corruption. Allegations have repeatedly surfaced in media about bribes made to influential officials of world soccer's governing body - FIFA - to secure Qatar's bid to host the 2022 Cup.[2] In fact the allegations are now being investigated by FIFA itself.[3]

Finally, with temperatures in the 120’s during the summer months, playing games and traveling throughout the country will be dangerous to athletes and fans alike. This is not what soccer is about and it is to FIFA’s on-going shame that they are allowing even a hint of the human rights catastrophe in Qatar to be a part of the world’s game.

Six of FIFA’s biggest sponsors, Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai-Kia, Emirates, Sony and Visa, have gone on record in June 2014 expressing concern over the corruption allegations in the awarding of the 2022 Cup to Qatar.[4] The documented instances of slave labor and the prediction of 4,000 World Cup construction-related deaths in Qatar should give those companies more reason to put the brakes on continuing partnerships until those human rights abuses can be ended.

The human rights situation in Qatar is unacceptable. Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai-Kia, Emirates, Sony and Visa can - and must - do something about it. As six of the largest and longest serving sponsors of FIFA and with prominent associations with the 2014 World Cup, we demand that you end your sponsorship of FIFA unless and until bids for the 2022 World Cup be reopened because of the widespread and routine use of slave labor in Qatar, the alleged use of bribes to secure the 2022 Cup, and the unsafe playing and traveling conditions.

[1] http://www.ituc-csi.org/IMG/pdf/the_case_against_qatar_en_web170314.pdf
[2] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/06/02/fifa-winner-of-the-world-cup-of-corruption/
[3] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/10/world/middleeast/british-seek-penalties-against-world-cup-bid-winner-qatar.html
[4] http://blogs.reuters.com/data-dive/2014/06/16/fifa-sponsors-get-involved-in-qatar-bribery-allegations/

Updates

2014-06-22 17:23:47 -0700

1,000 signatures reached

2014-06-22 09:09:58 -0700

500 signatures reached

2014-06-22 06:27:16 -0700

100 signatures reached

2014-06-22 06:14:26 -0700

50 signatures reached

2014-06-22 06:09:35 -0700

25 signatures reached

2014-06-22 06:05:20 -0700

10 signatures reached