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Canadian football chief addresses World Cup human rights concerns


Canada Soccer’s general secretary said the organization is continuing to call for improved labor rights in Qatar after the sport’s governing body was criticized for its “early silence” about fair compensation for workers. immigrant workers.

Speaking with CTV National News Chief News Anchor and Senior Editor Omar Sachedina in an exclusive interview, Earl Cochrane answered open-ended questions about Canada Soccer’s stance on the rights of migrant workers in Qatar. , who helped build the stadiums used for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

An analysis by The Guardian found that at least 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died.

Cochrane pointed to a statement Canada Soccer released on October 28, in which the organization said it “supports the continued pursuit of further advancements in workers’ rights and inclusivity as Qatar prepare to host the world organization.”

But in an open letter to Cochrane on Friday, Amnesty International Canada said “Canada Soccer’s jarring silence on equitable compensation for affected migrant workers and their families” They are a failure of leadership and could leave a lasting stain on Canada’s re-emergence on football’s biggest stage.”

Despite having met Canada Soccer before, Amnesty International has accused the organization of not tracking.

Among the calls from Amnesty International is Canada Soccer to support a $440 million Workers’ Compensation Fund for workers and their families, something other football associations have supported.

Cochrane told CTV National News: “We have continued to ask our regulator and ask that they, along with the Qatari government, continue to do the work to make a change.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview with Sachedina. Transcripts have been edited for clarity:


Omar Sachedina: One of the things we mean by your organization’s ‘shrill silence’ about fair compensation for affected migrant workers and their families is a failure of management and could be a lasting stain on Canada’s re-emergence on the biggest football scene. What do you think is fair? What is your reaction to that?


Count of Cochrane: Well, we released a statement a few weeks ago, addressing our stance, our commitment and our demands to all stakeholders involved with FIFA, the government, Qatar, continue the work they’ve been doing, to deal with some of the real problems — with rights issues, migrant worker issues. And we extended that goal. We want them to make and stay at the table to make the changes needed to affect life on earth. We hope and encourage them to do all they can for migrant workers for lost families and continue, once the lights have gone out in Qatar and the world is gone, to continue. continue the progress they have made. perform.


sachina: Do you think there could be many things that Canadian football can do and say? Because of the ‘deaf silence’, I mean, I was quite surprised to hear that.


Cochrane: I’m not sure. I’m not sure the language has been ‘deaf’. You know, we made this statement a few weeks ago. We stand behind the rest of the international community in the hope that the changes that have been made will continue to be made and that the progress that has been made continues to affect life on earth.


sachina: Looks like they have two specific requirements. One is for Canada Soccer to participate in a $440 million workers’ compensation fund. And it seems the Football Association of England, the French Football Federation, the Royal Dutch football association and US Soccer have all done it. But Canada Soccer is not. Why didn’t Canada Soccer join that fund?


Cochrane: We have continued to ask our regulator and ask them, along with the government of Qatar, to continue to do the work to make a change. We believe it is up to them to decide how they affect those changes.


sachina: So for those who say Canada Soccer is giving way to FIFA and Qatar and Canada Soccer should probably take the lead on this like other countries’ football federations, what do you say to those people? ?


Cochrane: I will say that our public statement is asking both FIFA and the Qataris who are responsible not only for what is happening in Qatar but also for the event itself. It’s a FIFA event. It is up to them to make those decisions.


sachina: How do you balance some of the emerging issues — human rights issues and the fact that there’s so much anticipation for this big sporting event?

Cochrane: Honestly, the fact that we’re here for a sporting event sheds some light on the issues of the workers, the issues of inclusion. I firmly believe that sport has the power to change and this is one of those cases where, you know, the challenges and problems or abuses that occur here have slowly started to change. And quite frankly, they changed because of football.


With files from CTVNews.ca, FIFA World Cup writers and producers Emily Wilson and Vivek Jacob

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