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6500 reasons to be concerned about the World Cup in Qatar.

Since Qatar was awarded the right to host the World Cup by FIFA, ten years ago, more than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have perished building pharaonic stadiums in the desert. Some people say that history repeats itself, but I never imagined returning to the same work conditions from ancient Egypt to modern-day Qatar. Back then the workers were slaves, nowadays, they are called contract workers, but since no working conditions apply to them the term slaves, could easily apply to them.

According to data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, there were 5,927 migrant worker fatalities between 2011 and 2020. Additional 824 deaths of Pakistani workers were reported between 2010 and 2020, according to data from Pakistan's embassy in Qatar. With an average of 12 migrant workers from these five south Asian countries have perished each week. And these numbers do not include deaths from a number of countries which send large numbers of workers to Qatar, including the Philippines and Kenya.

Many heartbreaking tales of families who have lost their sons, are battling for recompense, and are unsure of the circumstances behind their loved one's passing. The numbers from the data make their deaths even more unbearable for their families. Seen their loved ones treated like wasted construction material, or necessary sacrifices, in the name of an international tournament.

The Gulf state has been blighted by allegations of human rights abuse of construction workers

Researchers claim that workers are frequently moved from a World Cup project to the supply chain to another building scheme from one week to the next, and families hardly ever know where their loved ones were employed. In addition, "natural" causes are cited in seven out of ten deaths of Nepalis, Indians, and Bangladeshis. A post-mortem revealed no information. The men appear to have simply vanished. As a result, the image appears hazy. How many fatalities can the World Cup be directly blamed for? How much of the failure can be attributed to the tournament and its organisers?

Those workers had to undergo health screening before taking up their jobs in Qatar, so it is all the more shocking that so many healthy individuals just dropped dead while they were there. They leave the country certified as young and healthy. When a worker passes away, it might put their family in poverty in addition to breaking their hearts at home. They are now responsible for repaying the loan they took out with the hiring company, to begin with.

FIFA president Gianni Infatino has hailed progress in workers' rights in Qatar this year

FIFA president Gianni Infatino has hailed progress in workers' rights in Qatar this year

When FIFA granted the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, football leaders knew or should have known about Qatar's exploitative labour system and lack of worker protections. Temperatures there can reach more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, almost 50 degrees Celsius. The former head of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, stated in 2014 that a FIFA investigation "clearly suggested that it was too hot in the summer." In order to protect the athletes, FIFA ultimately shifted the World Cup to November 2022. However, there was no such worry for the almost 2 million migrants who were employed in Qatar at any given time to build hotels, highways, and stadiums.

On the other hand, in Qatar, those who "broadcast, publish information about the deaths of workers. Are considered instigators that republish false and inflammatory propaganda, with the intent to harm national interests. With journalists facing the punishment of up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.


It is difficult to explain the gap between the wealth brought up by the World Cup in Qatar and the treatment of the people who created the infrastructure. The anticipated cost of holding the competition is $138 billion, and FIFA will make $1.9 billion from broadcast rights alone, while migrant workers earned a minimum salary of under £200 per month. One more concerning fact is that 80 per cent of the Qatari population is composed of migrant workers. Without significant legal changes and reforms, Qatar faces the danger of becoming a nation where modern-day slavery flourishes and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor widens even further. While the fact that FIFA approved this project should be the greatest reason for football fans and players all over the world to protest their disagreement with FIFA's decision, and why not, maybe even boycott it. With the 6500 deaths of workers, giving us 6500 reasons to do it.

Written by Sergios Saropoulos






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