€380,000 from Oranje World Cup auction hasn't reached migrant workers in Qatar
The almost 380,000 euros that the KNVB raised for migrant workers in Qatar by auctioning off Oranje’s World Cup shirts still hasn’t been transferred to a project to improve their conditions more than nine months later. And over 150,000 euros has been deducted from that amount for costs incurred to organize the auction, despite the football union previously saying that the “full amount” would go to migrant workers in Qatar, RTL Nieuws reports.
The World Cup in Qatar late last year was subject to a great deal of criticism after human rights organizations like Amnesty International reported that thousands of migrant workers were dying while constructing stadiums and infrastructure for the football tournament. The KNVB decided not to withdraw Oranje from the tournament but to draw attention to and denounce the situation. It carefully organized a meeting between the Dutch footballers and migrant workers and auctioned the players’ World Cup shirts.
“We want to make a concrete contribution from the dressing room,” Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk said at the time. “First of all, by drawing attention to their situation here on this world stage. But also by using the auction proceeds from our tournament shirts to help finance the improvements that have been initiated.” Oranje announced that the auction yielded nearly 380,000 euros and said in a press release that the amount would “entirely” go toward improving the situation of migrant workers in Qatar.
But over nine months later, not a cent has reached migrant workers in the country yet, and the amount raised is a lot lower, according to RTL’s research.
The KNVB asked MatchWornShirt (MWS) to organize the auction. RTL found that MWS transferred 228,976.67 euros to Mondiaal FNV, which the KNVB asked to look for a suitable project in Qatar to donate to, in June.
MWS director Tijmen Zondewijk told RTL that the amount transferred to FNV was over 150,000 euros lower than the amount raised due to costs incurred. MWS offers a “full-service package” to its customers, arranging the auction from start to finish. Two MWS employees were in Qatar during the World Cup to collect and photograph the shirts, incurring travel and accommodation costs. The shirts also had to be made “DNA-free” with special washing machines, and the KNVB charged 100 euros per shirt for all 179 auctioned shirts. And 25,500 euros in tax was also deducted from the amount.
“We are a company, and my people also have to be paid. In addition, we have incurred costs,” Zonderwijk said to RTL Nieuws.
“Ultimately, everyone has to pay taxes,” Jaap Paulsen of the KNVB told the broadcaster. “And the costs were necessary to make this auction possible in the first place.” The fact that the KNVB previously said it would transfer the full auction amount “was communicated incorrectly at the time,” Paulsen said. “We should have said that we would transfer the net amount in full.” He added: “Not a cent from the shirt auction went to the KNVB, even though it cost us a lot of time and money.”
MSW only transferred the remaining 228,976.6 euros to FNV in June. “For a long time, we didn’t know where the money should go,” Zonderwijk said to RTL.
A spokesperson for FNV told the broadcaster that it only found out in May that the money would go into the union’s account. “Then we could start looking for a charity.” Mondiaal FNV, the branch of the trade union that handles international projects, is in talks with the international workers’ union BWI to find a project for the money in Qatar. BWI was involved in fighting for the rights of migrant workers before the World Cup and has local ties. According to RTL, it is unknown whether the international union will also charge costs for drawing up and implementing the project plan.