The Netherlands Trade Union Federation (FNV) is taking Fifa to a Swiss court on behalf of a migrant worker. Nadim Sharaful Alam, 31, a Bangladeshi migrant, is the lead plaintiff in the case.
The FNV sent a letter to Fifa on Sunday night and asked it to accept responsibility for the mistreatment and pay damages. If Fifa does not comply with the demand, the case will be taken to a court in Zurich.
The lawsuit states that Nadim was harassed and exploited during his employment tenure in Qatar. The lawsuit claims that he was subject to terrible working conditions for 18 months. There was intensive manual labour involved, i.e. loading and unloading from ships.
Nadim said that he was deported unceremoniously after he was paid a pittance that did not even cover the sum he paid to be recruited.
Nadim asks for $11,500 in compensation for a deal where he paid $4000 to a middleman.
This is the first instance of the global football governing body being taken to a court.
Amnesty International released a report that exposed the rampant exploitation in the construction of Khalifa International Stadium. It detailed how migrant workers from India, Bangladesh, and Nepal were deceived about their salaries and forced to house in cramped conditions. In addition, the workers went unpaid for months and had to pay for their own food.
The workers were also unable to contact their embassies for help since their passports were confiscated by the authorities.
Liesbeth Zegveld, a lawyer for FNV said: “Fifa should take responsibility for the irregularities. They could have demanded that the construction process be fair and unscrupulous.”
“The lawsuit does not say that Fifa should bring about social change everywhere, but that projects endorsed by Fifa should be transparent and humane,” she added.
If the lawsuit is penultimately taken to court if Fifa does not respond, it may prove to be disastrous. There are thousands of workers who have shared and still share the fate of Khalid. Thousands of litigations might jeopardise the football governing body in the future, The Guardian reports.
Qatar has invested $200bn and employed hundreds of thousands of migrant workers in preparation for the 2022 Fifa World Cup.