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Number Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty Four - 02 November 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Four Hundred and Twenty Four - 02 November 2023 - Page 6

Saudi Arabia confirmed as sole bidder for 2034 World Cup

THE GUARDIAN – Saudi Arabia has been confirmed as the sole bidder to host the 2034 men’s World Cup, raising concerns over FIFA’s ability to fulfil its human rights commitments.
After Australia decided against a bid, having been given a 25-day window by FIFA to express interest when the deadline was brought forward unexpectedly to 4pm GMT on Tuesday, the prospect of a second World Cup in the Middle East within 12 years is all but a formality. The lack of a competitive tender and the alacrity with which the process has been conducted, however, have prompted alarm among human rights groups. Amnesty International called on FIFA to pull the plug if human rights commitments were not fulfilled.
“Human rights commitments must be agreed with potential hosts before final decisions on holding the tournaments are made,” Steve Cockburn, Amnesty’s head of economic and social justice, said. “FIFA must now make clear how it expects hosts to comply with its human rights policies. It must also be prepared to halt the bidding process if serious human rights risks are not credibly addressed.
“The best chance for FIFA to obtain binding guarantees to protect workers’ rights, ensure freedom of expression and prevent discrimination linked to the World Cup is during the host selection process – not after the hosts have been confirmed and tournament preparation has begun.”
Under the terms of its bidding process for the 2030 and 2034 men’s World Cup finals tournaments, FIFA expects any host to conform with the terms of the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. This would require, in FIFA’s words, “human rights and labour standards to be implemented by the bidding member associations, the government(s) and other entities involved in the organisation of the competitions, such as those responsible for the construction and renovation of stadiums, training sites, hotels and airports”.
The Sports and Rights Alliance, which brings together a number of human rights organisations, argues that the lack of a competitive process has left FIFA with less leverage to enforce necessary change. Minky Worden, the director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, urged FIFA to be rigorous in its enforcement of its expressed principles.
Saudi Arabia has until July 2024 to submit its full bid.


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