Swiss court rejects case against FIFA on formal grounds

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Amsterdam/Zürich, 6 January 2017 - On 3 January 2017, the Swiss court rendered its decision to throw out the case filed against FIFA. According to the court, the relief sought is dependent on cooperation by Qatar and, (in part) as a result thereof, would not be enforceable. Aside from this, the court held that the relief sought must be realized on Qatari territory, which is something the court would be unable to monitor.

Plaintiffs are very surprised by this decision. It disregards the influential position FIFA has with regard to the organization of the 2022 World Cup, and does no justice to the complex human rights violations that are being committed in run up to the World Cup event. Plaintiffs seek relief in the form of numerous measures that FIFA can take and impose on Qatar unilaterally. 

That FIFA is indeed in a position to take such action, is something it proved in its own press release in response to the current court decision: in it, FIFA emphasizes its concern for the human rights situation in Qatar and goes on to list measures it has already taken in order to ensure safe and decent working conditions for construction workers there.

The court’s position that the relief sought would be impossible to realize from the outset, is therefore incorrect.

The plaintiff’s lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld says: “The fact that the court was able to render this decision rejecting the case on formal grounds a mere three weeks after the case was filed, reveals that the court quite simply did not wish to deal with a case like this one. That is unfortunate, and does not fit in the current era in which people are ordinarily not afraid to address and denounce complex human rights violations.”

Plaintiffs do not agree with the decision on all counts and are presently considering an appeal.

Background
The case is brought against FIFA by the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation (FNV), two Bangladeshi trade unions (BBWWF and BFTUC) and former migrant worker Nadim Alam. FIFA is blamed for violating international human- and labor rights in Qatar as a result of the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.

For more information contact: Rogier Esselbrugge: Rogier.Esselbrugge@fnv.nl, or Liesbeth Zegveld: + 31 20 344 6200, lzegveld@prakkendoliveira.nl.

  • This press release can be downloaded here. 

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