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Qatar will have to address workers right issue: Prince Ali

FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Al Hussein on Sunday ruled out re-opening of the 2022 World Cup bid won by Qatar if he is elected for the top job unless the Gulf country fails to address the issue of alleged rights violation of workers hired to construct the stadia.

Ali, who was here for the Asian Football Confederations Annual Awards Night, however, emphasised that issues of violation of human rights and workers rights were among important criteria for a country to be awarded the World Cup.

“As an Asian, I am asking that they (Qatar) have to abide by that (issue of alleged violations of workers rights). I have seen suggestions from Qatar especially in terms of workers rights that they want to move ahead but FIFA has to guarantee that they do so,” the 39-year-old Ali, who is the current Jordan Football Association President, told a select group of Indian journalists.

“Because that is the basis of how we should be. Football can be a right conduit to serve the society and that for me is the most important thing,” he added.

Ali is up against five candidates for FIFA presidency -- incumbent AFC chief Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa, UEFA Secretary General Gianni Infantino, Frenchman Jerome Champagne and South Africa’s Tokyo Sexwale. UEFA chief Michel Platini also filed his nomination but his fate will be known after a decision by FIFA Ethics Adjudicatory Chamber after he was handed a 90-day ban for allegedly receiving a USD 2 million payment from disgraced former FIFA chief Sepp Blatter.

Platini has also appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ban.

Asked pointedly if there is any possibility of re-opening the 2022 World Cup bid won by Qatar, Ali said, “I don’t think so unless something comes out that it (winning of the bid) was done in malpractice that was not brought up (earlier). If not, that is fine. But workers rights are also important. We have to make guarantee that they implement it.

“We are all equal and we are all human beings. Nobody should be treated in a wrong way. Nobody in Asia should be treated differently than anyone else. That is my view.

“My view is every country in the world has the right to host the World Cup if they have the means and capability to do so. It is not a matter of somebody is better than others. But the important thing is that things should be followed through properly. We have to implement the basic rights of people because that is an important criteria.”

A few member countries, especially from Europe, have called for the re-opening of 2022 World Cup bid on the grounds of alleged malpractices and under-the-table dealings. There were also allegations of widespread rights violations of the workers hired for construction of facilities to host the 2012 World Cup. 
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