FIFA has been urged to consider countries’ human rights records as it prepares to discuss expanding the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams.
The event will be staged in Qatar, but matches could be played in other Gulf countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates.
Amnesty International’s Stephen Cockburn said: “There are human rights risks associated with adding new hosts, not least the potential widespread exploitation of migrant workers providing construction services.”
In an open letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino a coalition, including Amnesty International, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and fans and players’ groups, urged world football’s governing body to “assess potential co-hosts to ensure the World Cup is not contributing or linked to human rights violations which are rife in the region”.
The coalition also urged FIFA to adhere to its own Human Rights Policy, which is aimed at ensuring tournament hosts “monitor and enforce mechanisms for labour rights on stadium construction sites”.
That policy, which was introduced in May 2017, also said that FIFA was “committed to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights”.
In a statement, Fifa said its “stance and commitment to Human Rights are unequivocal and integrated in the hosting requirements of all our future tournaments in accordance with our Human Rights Policy.
“As the feasibility study that will be presented to the FIFA Council on Friday confirms, this would not be different in the case of a potential co-host already in 2022.”