[WORLD CUP 2022]German Theo Zwanziger, the member of FIFA's executive committee the most critical publicly of the decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, testified before a European parliament sub-committee on human rights Thursday that taking the 2022 finals away from Qatar would be counterproductive but added that Qatar needs to show it's an open and tolerant country as quickly as possible.
"People have been asking when FIFA would be taking the World Cup away from Qatar but I think that would be counter-productive," said Zwanziger. "It would mean the current situation, the human rights violations would go on. It would simply mean that the spotlight would be put away from them. What is now important is to use the pressure that you get from this global event, which interests billions of people, as an opportunity to ask Qatar to show it's an open and tolerant country. They need to show this as quickly as possible."
The hearing came as Qatar remains under fire for its treatment of migrant workers in the construction industry. Many of the construction firms are based in Europe.
The hearing followed Tuesday's release of a 50-page workers’ charter by Qatar's supreme committee, which says it will carry out inspections to make sure contractors adhere to these new standards.
The charter -- which includes measures allowing workers to keep their passports -- was labeled a “sham” by International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow.
The central issue remains the abolition of the kafala system, a system where workers are usually "sponsored" by their employer.
"There have been a number of improvements with regard to the working situation," Barbara Lochbilder, the head of the European Parliament committee, said. "On the downside, the government has not shown any sign it wants to reform the kafala system nor shown it wants to come up with a new system that would be specific to migrants."