Date: 17th April 2015
AT THE beginning of the month, an article was published in the Sunday Mail explaining how last year it was discovered that the Qatar World Cup infrastructure and stadia were being built by cheap-labour, migrant workers. The Qatari government assured everyone that working conditions would improve.
However, it looks as if they haven’t. The article also reports that Scottish Labour leader, Jim Murphy, recently returned to the country to investigate the issue for himself and it reports how many of the workers are still on cheap labour rates and drinking cheap aftershave containing up to 70 per cent alcohol levels — which is incredibly harmful to their health. Despite being such a rich country, the workers toil six days per week at between 10 and 12 hours a day and receive only $300 at the end of the month.
It has now emerged that SFA chiefs, Stewart Regan, Campbell Ogilvie and Rod Petrie travelled to the Middle East country for discussions with the Qatari FA. When the partnership with the SFA was announced last year, the Qatari FA vice-president was quoted as saying that there would be ‘an enhanced relationship between us to improve the football system in both Qatar and Scotland.’ This begs the question, why hasn’t the SFA spoken out about the reports of ‘grave human rights abuses and exploitive practices’ in Qatar? Is this because the SFA are scared to upset the moneymen of FIFA and Qatar? Some may wonder if the men in charge of the Scottish game don’t want to jeopardise their own coffers. Although the contents of the deals between Qatar and its various partnerships relating to the World Cup and other football-related issues are yet to be made public, it has to be assumed that money had a large bearing on these.
At home, SFA bosses salaries have been rising in recent years, with no sign of any decreases, yet many people who are working within the game across the world are on the lowest salaries that are legal in their respective countries — and some salaries may even be lower than their legal or living wage.
Football’s leaders — like Stewart Regan, Campbell Ogilvie, Rod Petrie and Sepp Blatter — are charged with the safeguarding of the people’s game, yet instances like this, although not proven publicly, show that they may have a main motive of making money.
Fans make up a huge part of the game — without fans, the majority of money going into clubs would disappear. Either through lack of gate money, advertising or TV deals. Companies pay football clubs and their governing bodies these fees to show the games or advertise during them as they have an audience there to see what they are offering. Without the fans attending matches, there would be even more near empty stadiums and club turnover would reduce further due to a lack of commercial and retail sales. We could go on and on about how fans affect football. The game’s governing chiefs don’t seem to take into account that without fans, they would be out of a job and our football clubs would disappear.
Many people don’t agree with how Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2022, let alone the working conditions of the people charged with building everything necessary for the competition.
The dreadful conditions that the people are working in whilst preparing Qatar’s World Cup send out the wrong message to the world. Continued silence from the SFA gives the impression that they either support what Qatar is doing or they just don’t care. How can the people in charge of our game remain silent about this? Are these really the kind of people we want in charge?
It’s time that the people who are supposed to look after our game begin to really look after it. We must remember that fans are an integral part of the game, so as the game can’t speak for itself, it is up to us to make sure that our voices are heard when we disagree with the way things are run. If we don’t do that then our clubs may ultimately vanish like butter melting slowly in a hot pan.
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