Protesters rally against FIFA president Blatter

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 9:16 pm •  Published: April 24, 2014

HONG KONG (AP) — A handful of protesters holding banners and placards demonstrated peacefully Thursday at an event with FIFA president Sepp Blatter to highlight the plight of migrant workers building stadiums in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.

Blatter was a guest at the inauguration of the Hong Kong Football Association's new offices.

The International Trade Union Confederation has complained about the exploitation of migrant workers and deaths related to dangerous conditions on building projects in Qatar in the years since the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the Gulf nation. In recent months, Qatar has sought to allay widespread concerns about conditions for workers on World Cup building projects by detailing how their rights must be protected by contractors. Organizers are also considering scaling back the number of venues for the tournament.

Blatter distanced football's governing body from the issue and said it was a matter which only the local authorities could handle.

"They have a problem and we know that but this is not directly a question for FIFA," Blatter said. "It is one which the state of Qatar must handle as well as all the construction companies who are responsible for the workers."