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Tens of thousands of workers are building the stadiums and infrastructure necessary for hosting of the World Cup.These workers often face exploitation, poor working conditions, and little recourse for abuses.Workers told Human Rights Watch they face retaliation or threats of retaliation for raising concerns about labor conditions.Hundreds of workers at World Cup sites have organized strikes to protest abusive labor practices from 2015 to 2017.Without a written employment contract, migrant workers’ employment status is irregular, putting them at risk of deportation and often making them reluctant to seek assistance from the authorities in the event of abuse.Despite worker strikes, media and trade union reports of worker deaths, serious injuries and other concerns on World Cup construction sites, the FIFA leadership has consistently praised the Russian government’s preparations in public statements and has not spoken out about human rights concerns related to World Cup construction in Russia, except in response to media inquiries.
Additional joint monitoring involving FIFA, Russian officials, and trade unions began in August 2016 and is underway.
The world’s top 32 football teams competing in the 2018 World Cup will play matches organized in 12 stadiums in 11 cities in Russia: Moscow (two stadiums), St.
Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Saransk, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Kazan, and Nizhnii Novgorod.
They have also documented the same labor concerns identified in this report regarding non-payment of wages, retaliation against workers who complain, and the failure to provide written employment contracts.
The lack of employment contracts leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation and leaves them with little legal recourse: any such worker will have difficulty proving employment relations before a court, and therefore difficulty obtaining redress for abuse.
It remains unclear how many of those workers ever recovered the wages owed to them for their contribution to Russia’s mega sports projects.