From the TUC

Tartan Army calls on Qatar to Play Fair this Friday

01 Jun 2015, By

Are you going to be in Edinburgh on Friday evening? Know anyone who will be? We need people who care about the exploitation being suffered by migrant workers in Qatar to help us protest at the inaugural ‘Qatar Airways Cup’ taking place at Easter Road. Enjoy the game, but make your voice heard!

The Scottish Football Supporters Association and Playfair Qatar are calling on Scotland supporters to express their support for workers building Qatar’s 2022 World Cup in advance of Scotland’s friendly with the Gulf state. Before the match the Tartan Army will have the opportunity to do their part in raising awareness of the serious abuse of the workers making Qatar’s World Cup possible. Supporters groups and trade unionists will gather before the game to get their message across to fans and make their objection known to the SFA.

Simon Barrow of the Scottish Football Supporters Association says:

“We’ve been contacted by an increasing number of Scotland fans from all over the country, expressing concerns about Scotland hosting Qatar. The Tartan Army have earned a reputation as the best fans in the world and they have a keen sense of fair play so we want to provide them with an opportunity to do their bit to take a stand on this issue.”

Since Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup its serious abuse of migrant construction workers has been well documented. Hundreds of young migrant workers from Nepal, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan die every year in its construction sector, many from unknown circumstances or cardiac arrest and hundreds more will die if Qatar doesn’t play fair and make serious reforms. The International Trade Union Confederation has called Qatar “a slave state”, Human Rights Watch says its labour system facilitates trafficking and forced labour, and Amnesty International recently described Qatar’s proposed labour reforms as “a PR stunt”.

The STUC, UNISON and Unite will be supporting Friday’s actions, which will be complemented by a social media campaign, and the TUC’s Playfair Qatar campaign is backing the action. Football should not be run counter to the moral compass of its fans. Qatar has shown a complete disregard for the well-being and dignity of its workforce, and the SFA should express its concerns, especially since this is going to be an annual fixture.

Speaking ahead of the game on Friday in Edinburgh, STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said:

“Football should be a force for good in world; instead we are seeing the beautiful game marred by controversy and corruption. The situation in Qatar cannot go on. If the match on Friday was a World Cup ‘22 game 62 workers would have died to stage it.”