Politicians and human rights groups have urged event organisers to rethink plans to hold events in Qatar during the 2022 World Cup.
The calls came as international professional congress organiser MCI announced a joint venture with Qatar-based events and entertainment company Elan Events.
Over the past ten years, MCI says it has delivered a number of events and congresses in Qatar’s capital, Doha, working with luxury brands, the oil and gas industry, and prominent members of Qatar’s business and trading families.
Sumaira Isaacs, COO IMEA, MCI Group, said: “Qatar is a rising meetings industry player. With the recent construction of two state-of-the- art convention centres and the world’s biggest sporting event – the FIFA World Cup – set to take place in Qatar in 2022, now is the time for MCI to seize these global opportunities, and Elan is the perfect partner to support our growth.”
But Conservative MP Damian Collins has warned that commercial sponsors of the huge global event will have “blood on their hands” if they fail to pressure the 2022 host country, Qatar, to improve conditions for migrant workers.
A new report, published by Amnesty International states that over the last 12 months, little has changed in law, policy and practice for the more than 1.5 million migrant workers in Qatar.
The briefing – Promising little, delivering less: Qatar and migrant labour abuse ahead of the 2022 Football World Cup – provides a “scorecard” that rates the authorities’ response to nine fundamental migrant labour rights issues. The organisation says that limited progress has been achieved on five of these issues, in four areas the authorities have failed to make any improvements at all.
The International Trade Union Confederation (Ituc) said event organisers needed to think carefully about holding their events during the World Cup.
Sharan Burrow, the Ituc general secretary, told CN: “As we have seen over the last few weeks with the treatment of German and British journalists, Qatar is operating as a police state. Qatar is based on modern slavery and has the highest level of surveillance. Anyone thinking of organising events in Qatar needs to be aware of the fact that individuals are closely monitored and we do not think it is appropriate for companies to be planning events in Qatar during the World Cup.”