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Human Rights Watch criticizes FIFA over Russia World Cup sites

Berlin, June 14, (GNA/dpa) – The monitoring group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has criticized football world governing body FIFA for failing to protect workers constructing stadiums for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

“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,” HRW’s associate Europe and Central Asia director Jane Buchanan said Wednesday.

HRW released a report just days ahead of the start of the Confederations Cup, a test tournament being held in Russia a year before the World Cup, based on visits to seven stadium construction sites in 2016 and 2017.

It said it found “exploitation of construction workers, including: non-payment of wages; three-to-four-month delays in payment of wages; workers required to work outdoors in dangerously cold temperatures well below freezing; and a failure to provide work contracts and other documentation required for legal employment.”

Russia will host the World Cup in 12 stadiums over 11 cities including Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan and Sochi.

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FIFA said the scale of the allegations did not correspondent to their own assessment based on quarterly inspections by independent experts and trade union representatives.

It also said the organization was “committed to our responsibility” of safeguarding reasonable working conditions on World Cup construction sites.