Amnesty International warns FIFA against expanding number of teams in 2022 World Cup

Human rights organisations have signed an open letter to FIFA, world football’s governing body, warning against expanding the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48.

The letter was signed by Amnesty International, the World Players Association, the Centre for Human Rights and Transparency International. The groups’ concern is that an expansion in the number of teams may mean that matches are held in Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or the UAE, and that these countries have not been assessed for "human rights risks", and have no "credible plans to prevent labour rights abuse".

Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty’s director of global issues, said: "There are clear human rights risks associated with adding new hosts for the 2022 World Cup, not least the potential widespread exploitation of migrant workers providing construction and other services for the World Cup that could cast a major shadow over the world’s biggest sporting event."

A FIFA Congress, to be held in Paris in June, is likely to decide how many teams will play in the competition.

The 2022 World Cup has already been shortened to 28 days and moved from June to November and December, due to heat in the region. The 2026 World Cup will be held in North America and 48 teams will compete.

Image: The mock-up of the Al Thumama Stadium at which the matches of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be held (Pavel Byrkin/Dreamstime)

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