WORKERS AND FANS DEMAND FAIR STANDARDS FOLLOWING 2026 WORLD CUP SITE SELECTION
For Immediate Release: March 16, 2022
Media contact: Vonda McDaniel 615-490-0453
FIFA’s selections follows disappointing engagement with leading labor and human rights groups
Nationwide – Today, Nashville based worker rights organizations and fan organizations have expressed disappointment following the announcement that the Geodis Park will not be one of the sites at the upcoming 2026 World Cup. With the games set to take place in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, local leaders allied with Dignity 2026 - Workers & Communities United for Rights at the World Cup have pointed to inadequate stakeholder engagement and a weak human rights plan as one likely reason Nashville was passed over.
Each of the 17 cities bidding for 10 hosting slots in the United States was asked by FIFA to consult extensively with interested local stakeholders and to submit a human rights plan detailing how they would protect workers and human rights. Nashville ’s stakeholder consultation was very limited, and their plan provide for community benefits and the public good. With limited guidance from FIFA, the Nashville Host Committee failed to incorporate recommendations around human rights or workers rights.
“We were disappointed with what our bid committee offered in their human rights plan,” said CLC President Vonda McDaniel. “It’s not all too surprising given that FIFA really gave next to no guidance on what they actually wanted to see. Could our Nashville Host Committee have picked up the slack? Maybe. But at the end of the day we wouldn’t find ourselves in this situation if FIFA had just set minimum standards from the start.”
Local Nashville worker rights groups and fan organizations are allies of the international coalition Dignity 2026. The coalition of groups has been in contact with FIFA for months regarding the expectation for minimum standards. In December, the groups released an open letter to FIFA demanding the governing body commit to a series of minimum labor and human rights standards and agree to negotiate with national human rights stakeholders. After a breakthrough in stalled talks as reported in the Guardian, Dignity 2026 has met several times with FIFA since April. Though talks were promising, the coalition has expressed disappointment with FIFA’s lack of firm commitment thus far to get all cities they choose to have truly strong human rights plans.
“FIFA has key responsibilities to uphold human rights and lift labor standards, as one of the richest and most powerful non-governmental organizations on the planet,” said Cathy Feingold, Director of the International Department at the AFL-CIO. “I’m glad that FIFA is now in regular talks with our coalition. But FIFA is still far from acknowledging the full extent of its obligation to consult and partner with our national movements, and has not yet committed to respect and support the local communities and workers who will make these games possible.”
Demands of FIFA have been consistent over the course of the coalition’s correspondence. Groups have repeatedly called for FIFA to commit “to be bound by a detailed set of minimum standards,” including:
- Fair living wages
- Strong workplace health and safety protections
- Targeted local hiring
- Responsible contractor bid requirements
- Agreements which give workers a voice & reduce labor conflict
- Strong investigation and enforcement mechanisms, among other things.
Concerns about FIFA’s approach to labor and human rights issues a the 2026 World Cup are in part based on the track record of human and labor rights abuses alleged at past World Cup events, including but not limited to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Given this history, it is incumbent upon FIFA to establish new standards that demonstrate its intention to correct course and put greater emphasis on human and labor rights at the 2026 World Cup.