World Cup organisers have been criticised over the failure to compensate workers who have suffered during construction of facilities ©Getty Images

Human rights groups have accused FIFA of "misleading" claims about compensation for migrant workers and their families who have suffered whilst working on the World Cup in Qatar.

"FIFA indicated in a series of communications that it was committed to identifying ways to compensate migrant workers who faced deaths, injuries, and rampant wage theft, and to support an independent migrant workers' centre, as part of a legacy programme," campaigners from Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, FairSquare, and Equidem said.

They complained that by the start of the tournament FIFA had not released details of their plans and had instead announced a "legacy fund" which included no provision for compensation.

"Many thousands of migrant workers have paid illegal fees, had wages stolen or even lost their lives to make the world’s most lucrative sporting event possible," Amnesty International head of economic and social justice Steve Cockburn said.

"It would be outrageous for FIFA’s Legacy Fund not to recognize their contribution and compensate them for their losses.

"FIFA can still do the right thing by channelling the Legacy Fund towards workers and their families, supporting a genuinely independent workers' centre, and working with Qatar to ensure that every worker can access the compensation that they deserve. 

"By changing course, FIFA could make a lasting difference to the lives of the true heroes behind this World Cup, refusing to do so would be a terrible indictment on its commitment to workers’ rights."

"FIFA’s egregious whitewashing of serious abuses against migrant workers in Qatar is both a global embarrassment and a sinister tactic to escape its human rights responsibility to compensate thousands of workers who faced abuse and the families of those who died to make this World Cup possible," HRW acting executive director Tirana Hassan declared.

"FIFA continues to cash in on billions of dollars in revenue but refuses to offer a single cent for the families of migrant workers who died or those workers who were cheated out of their wages." 

The group claimed that FIFA President Gianni Infantino "also made misleading comments that workers can simply access compensation through an existing mechanism in Qatar, when this mechanism is in fact not set up to provide compensation on any meaningful scale related to deaths, injuries, and historic wage theft."

Human rights groups have monitored the treatment of migrant workers since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010 ©Getty Images
Human rights groups have monitored the treatment of migrant workers since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010 ©Getty Images

"FIFA has tuned out genuine demands for remedy for migrant workers including from the football industry and ignored evidence of widespread uncompensated abuses and the inadequacies of the current compensation systems in Qatar," Nick McGeehan, founding director of Fairsquare, a migrant abuse investigation agency said.

"Instead of ensuring protection of migrant workers who built and delivered the World Cup infrastructure in Qatar, FIFA has benefited from their exploitation and parroted Qatari authorities' talking points, showing their complicity to all the misleading claims and deflections on abuses of migrant workers," McGeehan added.

Campaigners claimed that Qatari authorities have failed to provide documentation of $350 million (£282 million/€328 million) said to have been distributed to migrant workers in compensation.

They insisted that many have discovered they are ineligible because Qatari authorities have ruled that the cause of injuries or fatalities were unconnected with construction work.

In October, FIFA deputy general secretary Alasdair Bell told the European Council of Ministers there had been "real tangible progress" in conditions for workers in Qatar.

FIFA have been contacted for comment.