Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa speak out against World Cup abuse

A group of workers’ rights unions is encouraging Fifa sponsors to speak up (iStock)
A group of workers’ rights unions is encouraging Fifa sponsors to speak up (iStock)

Fifa sponsors Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa have issued statements regarding alleged human rights abuses taking place in World Cup 2022 host nation Qatar, amid calls to speak out from pressure groups.

A group of workers’ rights unions launched a campaign earlier this week (19 May) to encourage sponsors of the World Cup 2020 to take a stand against the "abysmal conditions, and numerous deaths, of migrant workers" currently working on construction sites in Qatar.

In a statement issued yesterday (20 May), The Coca-Cola Company said: "The Coca-Cola Company does not condone human rights abuses anywhere in the world. We know Fifa is working with Qatari authorities to address questions regarding specific labor and human rights issues. 

"We expect Fifa to continue taking these matters seriously and to work toward further progress. We welcome constructive dialogue on human rights issues, and we will continue to work with many individuals, human rights organisations, sports groups, government officials and others to develop solutions and foster greater respect for human rights in sports and elsewhere."

Visa’s statement was a little more damning of the football association. It said: "We continue to be troubled by the reports coming out of Qatar related to the World Cup and migrant worker conditions. We have expressed our grave concern to Fifa and urge them to take all necessary actions to work with the appropriate authorities and organisations to remedy this situation and ensure the health and safety of all involved."

Adidas stated that "more needs to be done in a collective effort with all stakeholders involved."

Gazprom, Hyundai and Kia join Coca-Cola, Adidas and Visa as Fifa partners, while McDonald's and Budweiser are currently signed to sponsor the 2018 World Cup in Russia. So far, no brand has pulled out of the contract following the abuse allegations.

Castrol, Continental and Johnson & Johnson all ended their tenure as key sponsors in January, while Emirates and Sony also cut ties in November last year.

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