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ZURICH/DOHA: A Bangladeshi man who says he was harshly exploited while working on 2022 World Cup facilities in Qatar is suing FIFA for allegedly failing to use its influence to ensure workers are treated fairly.
The Gulf state has faced criticism of its treatment of foreign workers from Amnesty International, the Building and Wood Workers' International organization and others.
But the case announced on Monday is the first time football's world governing body has been targeted.
The suit, launched in Zurich with the backing of the largest labour union in the Netherlands, calls on FIFA to force Qatar to adopt "minimum labour standards" for migrant workers preparing for the tournament, including at least the right to quit a job or leave the country.
Leading the Swiss suit is 21-year-old Nadim Shariful Alam, seeking around $11,500 in compensation for a deal in which he paid $4,000 to a recruiter.
On arrival in Qatar his passport was taken away and he was forced to work for 18 months under harsh conditions, according to a draft letter to be filed with Zurich's Trade Court.
He unloaded ships carrying construction materials, and paid for meals at the large workers' camp where he was confined.
He says he was then fired and deported, having earned too little to even repay the original recruitment fee.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case. A Qatar government spokesman had no immediate comment.
The Dutch Federation of Trade Unions (FNV) said FIFA should take responsibility, as it has the power to grant or withhold hosting deals and a history of demanding concessions from host countries.