Qatari workers: Le Graët sports minister ‘shocked’

Qatari workers: Le Graët sports minister ‘shocked’

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said on RTL on Friday morning she was “shocked” by the reaction of the President of the FFF, Noël Le Graët, in the program Complément d’Enquête aired on Thursday, after looking at pictures of the living conditions of subcontractors at the Hôtel of the Bleus in Qatar.

After seeing these images of cramped, cockroach-infested rooms with workers piled on bunk beds, the French Football Federation president replied to the journalist: “It’s not unsolvable, it’s paint marks. There’s still time to fix that. “

“I can show you pictures like this in many countries, maybe even not far from here,” he says again in his Paris office.

“This reaction shocked me, I thought it was superficial (…), that there was a lack of humanity and even clarity,” said Minister of Sport Amélie Oudéa-Castéra on RTL.

“The FFF must take its share of the responsibility and do everything in its power to improve the situation regarding working conditions, respect for human rights in its base camp. Compared to the very shocking images we saw yesterday, the reactions are needed,” she estimated.

These images prompted the FFF to announce a verification mission on the ground, verifications that “allowed the dismissal of the security company” for “many unacceptable irregularities,” the federation explains in a letter prepared by the October 2 issue.

The minister had sent a letter to the FFF in early October asking them to prove their human rights efforts during the World Cup in Qatar (Nov. 20 – Dec. 18).

“I had some initial feedback which, to be honest, hasn’t cleared the doubts, so I’m not going to let them loose on the issue,” the minister explained.

“I want us to be vigilant and impeccable (…). They have committed to meeting there in the next few days, they have to do the job,” she said.

Workers walk past a palisade where we see the ‘La’eeb’ mascot of the FIFA World Cup Qatar in Doha, October 13, 2022 (AFP – GIUSEPPE CACACE).

Qatar has been the subject of numerous criticisms from non-governmental organizations for respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, particularly those of foreign workers, particularly from Africa and South Asia, who make up the majority of its population.

The minister also reiterated that she would take all the consequences of the ongoing scrutiny mission to the FFF, while new anonymous testimonies from ex-employees released by Radio France on Wednesday spoke of “inappropriate” Christmas behavior. Le Graët, which he “resolutely denies”.

“I would like this association to take up this important topic in an exemplary manner,” said the minister, referring to gender-specific and sexual violence.

“We will carry out this (examination) work methodically independently, taking into account the contradiction” and “my hand will not tremble when I draw all the conclusions,” she assured.


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