IOL: Fifa’s housing stance lamented

Fifa’s housing stance lamented
9 March 2010, 11:12
Geneva – Numerous people have complained of being forced from their homes or priced out of the housing market as a result of large events such as the World Cup and Olympic Games, says a UN human rights investigator.

Raquel Rolnik, an independent investigator appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, cited reports that more than 20 000 residents were being moved from a makeshift settlement near Cape Town to impoverished areas at the edge of the city before the World Cup.

Rolnik said South Africa had “left behind” its commitments to ensure the right to housing in the context of the event.

She criticised soccer’s world governing body, Fifa, for failing to ensure that cities staging the World Cup explicitly committed to protecting housing rights.

Unlike the International Olympic Committee, Fifa had not responded to repeated demands to make housing rights a key part of the bidding process for hosting the event, she said in Geneva.

“It’s a much less transparent and clear process of bidding and selecting as compared to the Olympic committee.”

Rolnik said she and her predecessor had tried unsuccessfully to meet representatives of Zurich-based Fifa to discuss protecting housing rights as part of World Cup bids.

“Fifa never answered any of our letters, any of our requests to have meetings,” she said.

Fifa didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. – Sapa-AP