May 20, 2015 / 5:27 PM / 4 years ago

FIFA sponsors Visa express 'grave concern' over Qatar workers

BERNE (Reuters) - FIFA sponsors Visa have expressed “grave concern” at the conditions of migrant workers in 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.

“We continue to be troubled by the reports coming out of Qatar related to the World Cup and migrant worker conditions,” said VISA in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have expressed our grave concern to FIFA and urge them to take all necessary actions to work with the appropriate authorities and organizations to remedy this situation and ensure the health and safety of all involved.”

The announcement came two days after the pressure group New FIFA Now and international workers’ unions renewed their call on FIFA sponsors to put pressure on world soccer’s governing body over the issue.

Qatar has been widely criticised for the treatment of migrant workers, mainly from Nepal and India, employed in the construction industry.

The country announced labour reforms in May last year, although organisations such as the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Amnesty International said at the time that they did not go far enough.

Soccer’s world governing body has also been criticised for not doing enough to ensure that workers involved in construction projects related to the World Cup are protected.

Coca-Cola, another sponsor, said it expected FIFA to take the matter seriously.

“The Coca-Cola Company does not condone human rights abuses anywhere in the world,” it said in a statement.

“We know FIFA is working with Qatari authorities to address questions regarding specific labour and human rights issues. We expect FIFA to continue taking these matters seriously and to work toward further progress.”

Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Ken Ferris

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