Football is a universal language that unites communities and countries, a game that has the power to transcend borders and help change people’s lives for the better. The Football Association of Wales’ (FAW’s) strong belief is that football is a game for all – a game which should be accessible to and enjoyed by everyone and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar should be no different.
The FAW has a responsibility to represent those across the game who feel the 2022 FIFA World Cup excludes them or won’t allow them to be their authentic true selves.
Football and the 2022 FIFA World Cup can be key drivers in addressing Human Rights issues, bringing about sustainable and meaningful change that goes beyond the host country.
Change is best achieved by working collaboratively with others and the FAW is working closely with key partners to help ensure that the 2022 FIFA World Cup is a catalyst for positive action that provides a legacy following the conclusion of the tournament.
The FAW is involved in detailed dialogue with FIFA, UEFA, the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Ministry of Labour, human rights organisations, such as Amnesty International and other participating National Associations.
The FAW aim to utilise the 2022 FIFA World Cup’s platform to highlight the core message that football should be for everyone, everywhere and will continue to influence and raise awareness of human rights issues, both locally and globally.
The FAW will continue to provide further information on its upcoming plans and updates on progress made in collaboration with the association’s stakeholders and external networks across the FAW’s PAWB.Cymru website.
UEFA Working Group
The FAW is a member of the UEFA Human Rights Working Group for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
- The working group was established in May 2021 and has conducted several site visits to Qatar. Chaired by UEFA, the Working Group is focused on a handful of topics: labour rights; freedom of the press; fan engagement and tournament involvement; anti discrimination, in particular women’s rights and LGBTQI+ safety and inclusion; and human rights due diligence throughout the supply chain. All the work and interactions around these five areas also consistently examines information around the legacy aspect of the tournament, in view that positive developments taking place will endure after the tournament in late 2022.
- All reports from the three Working Group site visits to Qatar so far are summarised and posted online on UEFA’s Sustainability web platform. The Working Group will continue meeting on a regular basis ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar in view of facilitating dialogue and supporting actions toward the preparations, delivery and legacy of the FIFA World Cup in the areas of human and labour rights
The question has been raised whether qualifying teams should boycott the tournament:
- The FAW’s position is that change is best achieved by working collaboratively with others, boycotting the 2022 FIFA World Cup would only hinder any progress made in Qatar and that working closely with key partners will help to ensure that the FIFA World Cup is utilised as a positive catalyst for change, providing a lasting legacy following the conclusion of the tournament.
On workers’ rights issues.
- Alongside fellow European National Associations, the FAW has committed to due diligence with all major local suppliers and in in collaboration with the Hospitality Working Group, International Labor Organisation and the Qatar Supreme Committee is conducting a range of checks to ensure that any partners or services used in Qatar, both before and during the tournament, meet the required standards regarding human rights and provide full support to their employees.
- The International Labour Organisation’s recent reports detail the significant progress across workers’ rights issues through impactful legislative changes and the development of Joint Committees across different sectors and communities.
- The FAW does however want to see further significant and lasting improvements in the conditions of migrant workers in Qatar with ongoing support provided through the concept of a Migrant Workers Centre.
The FAW has been proactive in championing the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community and in creating a welcoming environment in football throughout Wales.
- The FAW acknowledges the decision made by the Cymru’s National Team’s LGBTQ+ supporters group The Rainbow Wallnot to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The FAW believes that everyone should be able to feel safe, that they belong and can be their true authentic selves and wishes to highlight that while assurances have been provided regarding, LGBTQ+ fans being safely welcomed in Qatar, an integral brick in the Red Wall will be missing at the tournament.
- The FAW has met on several occasions with representatives of the Rainbow Wall and the LGBTQ+ football Network. The FAW will continue to engage in conversation with The Rainbow Wall and its members before, during and after the 2022 FIFA World Cup’s conclusion.
On women’s rights issues.
- Workers’ rights now include paid leave for child sickness, lower working hours and parental leave for two months.
- A committee has been put in place for the protection of the rights of women (also for children, the elderly, and disabled people).
- While progress has been made, with many high-level positions in various sectors held by women, there are still legal restrictions in place regarding relationships that impact women with a high proportion of Human Rights violation reports relating to the topic of women’s rights and violence against women.
- The FAW is engaging stakeholders on how best to utilise its platform to champion equal opportunities for women during the 2022 FIFA World Cup while educating on developments and ongoing challenges on Women’s rights in Qatar.
Anti-discrimination & Human rights reporting
- Various types of training to 2022 FIFA World Cup event-related staff, security, stewards, etc. are being held to educate those involved in the tournament.
- In addition, within the venue security operations, an anti-discrimination expert will be integrated into the team.
- The FAW is in the process of establishing a Discrimination reporting channel for the tournament. FIFA operates a Human Rights Grievance Mechanism for anyone who considers their rights may have been violated through an activity linked to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The mechanism allows for anonymous reporting and secure communication with complainants and the FAW encourages anyone to use the service should they experience any Human Rights Violations.
The FAW is working with FIFA, the Football Supporters Association Cymru and the Cymru Disabled Supports Association to provide support and information for disabled fans travelling to Qatar. Below are just a few of the accessibility features that will be available:
- Dedicated allocation of Accessibility Tickets in stadiums, as listed in chapter 19 (“Ticketing and hospitality”).
- Infrastructure enhancements to ensure accessible routes, seating and sanitary facilities; provision of Changing Places toilets.
- Lowered concession counters, where possible.
- Dedicated information points and resting points at key locations.
- Audio descriptive commentaries in English and Arabic.
- Provision of sensory viewing rooms in some stadiums (Lusail Stadium, Al Bayt Stadium and Education City Stadium).
- Wheelchair escort services and golf carts.
- Dedicated parking (must be requested prior to the match) and priority entrance lanes
- Dedicated accessibility volunteers to provide information regarding support services and monitoring of stadiums and their surroundings to ensure a smooth journey for everyone to and from the stadium.
Culture & Language
- The FAW in conjunction with FIFA and various stakeholders is developing a cultural and language factsheet for fans which will be released in due course.