The recent allegations of corruptions and bribery against top FIFA (the world’s governing body for soccer for those tuning out whenever the name or phrase surrounding sport is mentioned) officials has also brought to light the issue of foreign-worker well being on the stadium sites included as part of Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid.

As illustrated in the graphic above, the mortality rate on these sites is, by understatement, out of control.

If it were to continue at its current rate, over 5,000 mostly Nepalese workers will have died on site by the time the tournament begins- the fact that whether it continues as planned amid the corruption allegations is another issue entirely. Workers also come from nearby India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

What doesn’t change is that already 1,200 workers have died in construction so far, almost of all of whom are migrant workers. Qatar’s laws surrounding the number and conditions of migrant workers essentially leave the responsibility of treatment and well being with the employer- leaving the door open to widespread abuse and poor conditions, including passport seizure.

A dangerous combination of ‘lax’ safety culture. long working hours, and 50+ degree temperatures on a regular basis appear to contribute to the deaths, which the Guardian reports, would “almost certainly” be one worker per day if all migrant nationalities are taken in to account. The Nepalese Foreign Employment Board reported that of deaths occurring last year, just under half were attributed to cardiac arrest, which are reported differently to ‘workplace accidents’, which still accounted for 20%.

Amnesty International still believe Qatar is “dragging its feet” when it comes to improving workplace laws and conditions, so it’s hard to imagine things improving for migrant workers in the meantime. Perhaps the best thing for all involved would be send the Cup to Australia instead?!

 

Resources:
Washington Post’s report on migrant worker deaths (http://bit.ly/wapost-qatar)
The Guardian: “Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed” (http://bit.ly/guardian-qatar)