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Monday Kickoff: Blatter tells Qatar to improve work conditions; Ukraine pres calls for boycott of Russian World Cup; and more

Sepp Blatter 3 (Getty Images)



Sepp Blatter has noted progress in Qatar’s work standards, but the FIFA president insists that there is still much more to be done to improve the welfare of the nation’s workers.

Blatter met with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, who has previously acknowledged setbacks in development that have claimed the lives of 1,000 migrant workers according to the International Trade Union Confederation. With new legal framework in place, Blatter says that he expects Qatar to keep making progress when it comes to worker’s rights.

“It is encouraging to hear the Emir’s personal commitment to workers’ welfare and to get a sense of the improvements planned for all workers in Qatar,” Blatter said. “As various human-rights groups have recently noted, progress has been made already, especially with regard to the standards introduced by the supreme committee relating to 2022 construction sites, but more must be done in Qatar to ensure uniformly fair working conditions for all.

“This will only be possible through the collective effort of all stakeholders — from the construction companies to the authorities. It is clear that Qatar takes its responsibility as host seriously and sees the FIFA World Cup as a catalyst for positive social change.”

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Monday morning:


With conflict at an all-time high between the two nations,Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko has called for his allies to back a boycott of Russia’s 2018 World Cup.

Poroshenko says he believes in keeping sports and politics separate, but is unable to due to the current occupation of Donetsk by Russian separatists. As a result, the president has called on the country’s allies, including German chancellor Angela Merkel, who negotiated a ceasefire last month, to back tougher sanctions against Russia.

“I think there has to be discussion of a boycott of this World Cup,” Poroshenko said. “As long as there are Russian troops in Ukraine I think a World Cup in that country is unthinkable.”


Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be set for a spell on the sidelines after losing his temper in Sunday’s loss.

Paris Saint-Germain were defeated, 3-2, by Bordeaux on Sunday, and the Swedish star was captured on camera ranting at the fourth official. Ibrahimovic, who reportedly insulted France and said the nation doesn’t deserve a team like PSG, has apologized for his comments against the country.

“Regarding my comments after tonight’s game: they were not against France or the French people,” Ibrahimovic said. “I spoke about football. I lost the game, I accept that, but I can’t accept when the referee doesn’t follow the rules. It’s not the first time, and I’m sick of it. My sincere apologies if anyone was offended, or took it the wrong way.”


Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is likely to miss Wednesday’s Champions League matchup with Manchester City due to injury. (REPORT)

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Steven Gerrard’s place in the team is not certain when the captain returns from injury. (REPORT)

Andrea Pirlo is likely to miss Juventus’ Champions League matchup with Borussia Dortmund. (REPORT)

Andre-Villas Boas has called Torpedo Moscow fans “a disgrace” for racially abusing Zenit winger Hulk. (REPORT)

What do you think of Blatter and Poroshenko comments? Should Ibrahimovic face any punishment for his comments?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. The kafala system is modern day slavery. Reminder that a majority owner in MLS gets super rich off the kafala system in his Hereditary monarchy.

  2. I am genuinely embarrassed for FIFA. Yet another racist story from Russia comes out over the weekend. There are 5 African teams that qualify for the World Cup, granted not all are sub-Saharan, but that equates to thousands of fans flocking to the host country to watch their team.

    In Qatar, at least 1,000 people have died building stadiums/infrastructure. 1,000, and we’re still 7 years away from the tournament.

    • Qatar shouldn’t have the world cup but it’s unclear if the 1,000 deaths are all due to work for the world cup. It might be that 1,000 migrant workers have died in general because there are huge numbers of them working on all kinds of projects. Either way, between this issue and the inability to host in the summer, Qatar should be stripped of the 2022 world cup asap.

      • Under no circumstances should FIFA take the World Cup from Qatar. As the article says, we are already seen changes in the working conditions and they’ll keep getting better as long as FIFA keeps pushing for changes which will save lives even after the wold cup. If it means we don’t get to hold the WC or it’s played in the winter so be it. Lives are more important than a stupid sporting tournament.

      • “improvements”…. no more 22 guys sleeping in 20ft x 20ft quarters with one bathroom… now it’s only 18 per room…. and to make sure workers dont change their minds their passports are still being confiscated… it is an arab custom that we in the West “must” respect according to Bladder.

        PS. the 1,000 deaths per year have been deemed “deaths by natural” causes by renowned, world-class, Cuban doctors.

      • Rob is just an anti-US/pro-Mexico troll. If it means migrant workers die in Qatar building world cup stadia, he doesn’t care as long as the US doesn’t host it.

      • We are all something but I’m not going to get into petty insults with you.
        If you want to deny the fact that the WC in Qatar could serve a greater good than entertainment then that’s between you and your conscience.
        We are talking human lives here. I think our ego should be put aside for this one.

      • I think you misunderstand the gist of the anti-Qatar complaints, which focus on the very moral concerns that, in your view, justify — even compel — holding the WC in Qatar. While it *could* serve a greater good, there is little basis for believing that any improvements in Qatar’s utterly inhumane labor practrices and working conditions will be anything but cosmetic and temporary. By your logic, FIFA should have awarded the WC to South Africa while the apartheid system was still in place, because it *could* lead to “improvements” in that situation.

    • If Ukraine qualifies for the WC in Russia, FIFA will have much bigger problems than bringing five African teams to Moscow.


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