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Sepp Blatter says FIFA is not responsible for abuse of migrant workers in World Cup host Qatar

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COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The welfare of migrant workers involved in building facilities for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar is the responsibility of the companies who hired them, not FIFA, Sepp Blatter said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters during his visit to Sri Lanka, the FIFA president said the workers are employed by companies from Germany, France, England and other European countries and "they are responsible for their workers."

Qatar has come under increasing scrutiny over its labor practices since FIFA awarded it the right to host the tournament in 2010. Like other energy-rich Gulf nations, Qatar relies heavily on migrant workers drawn mainly from South Asia to build its roads, skyscrapers and stadiums.

In Qatar, World Cup organizers released the design of their fourth stadium on Tuesday. The Qatar Foundation Stadium in Doha is being designed to seat 40,000 spectators, with the capacity reduced to 25,000 after the tournament.

PHOTO: FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter prepares to address the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony for a Football Artificial Turf under the FIFA Goal Project III in the country Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at Carmona township, Cavite province south of Manila, Philippines. The full size pitch will serve as the training facility and possible football stadium to boost football development in the Philippines. Blatter is here for the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Player of the Year awards ceremony as well as the AFC's 60th anniversary. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter prepares to address the crowd during the groundbreaking ceremony for a Football Artificial Turf under the FIFA Goal Project III in the country Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014 at Carmona township, Cavite province south of Manila, Philippines. The full size pitch will serve as the training facility and possible football stadium to boost football development in the Philippines. Blatter is here for the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Player of the Year awards ceremony as well as the AFC's 60th anniversary. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

International criticism is mounting over abuses in Qatar, with rights groups saying tens of thousands of migrant workers building infrastructure for the World Cup would face exploitation and misery.

Amnesty International said last month that Qatar is lagging behind on addressing concerns about the abuse of migrant workers six months after it laid out plans for labor reforms.

Qatar government officials have said it plans to implement labor reforms in the next few months.

Also, Blatter declined to comment when asked whether FIFA intends to publish the World Cup bid corruption investigation report by American prosecutor Michael Garcia, citing FIFA regulations.

Blatter was in Sri Lanka to attend a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of country's soccer federation.

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