No Slave Labor for International Soccer Tournament

Child Laborer

Target: FIFA President Sepp Blatter

Goal: End involvement with countries that use slave-like labor and perpetuate other human rights abuses.

Exploited Russian prisoners could be used to produce various goods for the 2020 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) tournament if a proposal issued by the Russian government is approved. The labor that prisoners in Russia are forced to do has recently been compared to slave labor, with inmates working around 16 hours a day with few days off. They’re also paid significantly less than the country’s minimum wage, and the money they do earn often never reaches the inmates’ pockets.

FIFA has already come under fire for hosting international soccer tournaments that create terrible situations for people living in poverty. Before their last tournament in Brazil, poor citizens were forced out of their homes to make way for new “public works” around the stadium. The next tournament will take place in Qatar, where working conditions have, again, been compared to slavery. International labor groups estimate that around 4,000 workers in Qatar are likely to die during the preparations for the 2020 tournament.

FIFA needs to do something about the terrible human rights violations that are fueled by its tournaments. If Qatar has a labor situation that looks like modern slavery, the tournament should be held elsewhere. And if Russia offers to use slave-like prison labor to make goods for the same event, FIFA should refuse to purchase those goods. What the organization needs is an overarching policy that says it won’t be involved with any country or any practice that uses exploited workers or creates any human rights abuses.

By signing this petition, you’ll demand that FIFA do better for the most vulnerable people of the world. If any country wants to host a tournament or profit from it, they should be held to a higher standard. Help us demand that FIFA make human rights a priority.


Dear President Blatter,

The government of Russia is currently considering a proposal involving the use of prison labor to manufacture goods for the 2020 FIFA tournament in Qatar. This is a problem due to the fact that Russia’s prison system has come under fire for creating slave-like conditions in which inmates are forced to work 16-hour days, rarely get days off, and have the majority of their paltry wages withheld.

However, it’s not the only problem with the upcoming 2020 cup. Qatar itself has been accused of worker rights abuses so severe that labor in the country has also been compared to modern-day slavery. Your tournament is in five years, and it’s already becoming associated with a lot of slave-like conditions. This comes after your most recent tournament, which resulted in many thousands of poor Brazilians being forcibly evicted from their homes for the sake of public works projects designed to accommodate the cup.

Your tournaments are creating a lot of human rights abuses, and you’ve done very little to stop it. It’s time for you to take responsibility for the suffering your organization has created. You must immediately work to create a policy saying that you won’t associate with any countries or organizations that use anything close to slave labor or similar exploitation for profit. If FIFA takes a stand against human rights abuses, the impact could be incredible. Please instate a policy that upholds basic human decency as a priority.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit:  Biswarup Ganguly

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