World Cup 2018: FIFA blamed for deaths and widespread abuse of stadium workers

On Tuesday, the Human Rights Watch, an American-founded international organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, published a scathing 34-page report finding deaths and alleging widespread exploitation and labor abuse of construction workers working on stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

The report condemned FIFA in the process, while also saying representatives from HRW visited seven World Cup stadium sites in 2016 and 2017, documenting "the exploitation of construction workers." The report alleges non-payment of wages, months delays in payment of wages, workers working outdoors in "dangerously cold temperatures well below freezing," failure to provide work contracts and other documentation for legal employment and more.

Citing Building and Wood Workers' International global union, the report says at least 17 workers have died on World Cup stadium sites. 

In May of 2016, FIFA announced a system that would monitor labor conditions. FIFA has not yet responded to the report.

"FIFA's promise to make human rights a centerpiece of its global operations has been put to the test in Russia, and FIFA is coming up short," said Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Construction workers on World Cup stadiums face exploitation and abuse, and FIFA has not yet shown that it can effectively monitor, prevent, and remedy these issues."

Obviously these are strong accusations against FIFA and, in particular, Russia. In June, The Guardian reported on the conditions North Korean migrant workers were facing, stating that 190 of them had worked long hours with no days off between August and November of last year, with a 47-year-old dying. 

FIFA's move now to come out and be truthful, letting people know what may have taken place and what they may be doing to combat it. When it comes to any type of abuse, there's no room for it, especially in the world of soccer. 

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CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

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