Qatar World Cup Chief Says 400–500 Migrant Workers Died In Tournament-related Projects

Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of the World Cup, claimed that between 400 and 500 migrant workers have perished as a result of their work on projects related to the competition. a higher number than Qatari officials have previously mentioned.

Al-Thawadi was questioned by Piers Morgan about the number of fatalities among migrant workers as a result of the preparation work done in Qatar for the tournament. The interview aired on Talk tv on Monday.

Al-Thawadi claimed that 37 deaths were attributed to other causes, while three deaths were directly related to the construction of the stadiums.

When Morgan questioned him about the number of deaths among migrant workers involved in the larger preparations for the World Cup in Qatar, he replied, “The estimate is around 400, between 400 and 500.”

“I don’t have the exact number; that’s been discussed,” the speaker said. One death is too many; that much is obvious.

“I think every year the health and safety standards on the sites are improving, at least on our sites, the World Cup sites, the ones that we’re in charge of, most definitely,” Al-Thawadi continued.

Hassan Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, speaks in Doha earlier this year.

Three work-related deaths occurred during the construction of World Cup stadiums, along with 37 non-work-related deaths, according to a spokesperson for Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (Sc).

The spokeswoman added in a statement: “Separate quotes regarding figures refer to national statistics covering the period of 2014–2020 for all work-related fatalities (414) nationwide in Qatar, covering all sectors and nationalities.”

Current asked the Committee about the difference between what Al-Thawadi said about migrant workers and what it said in its statement about “all nationalities,” but the Committee chose not to answer.

The majority of these workers were engaged in hazardous, low-paying work that was frequently performed in extreme heat, according to a report published by The Guardian last year. Since Qatar was awarded the World Cup in 2010, 6,500 South Asian migrant workers have died there.

The report was not independently verified by current and did not link all 6,500 deaths to World Cup infrastructure projects.

Al Thawadi, who is in charge of overseeing Qatar’s preparations, refuted that number last year and told current Becky Anderson that it was a misleading “sensational headline” from The Guardian and that the report lacked context.

The 6,500 figure, according to a Qatari government official who spoke to current last month, is based on the total number of fatalities among foreign workers in the nation over a ten-year period.

This is false and ignores all other causes of death, such as illness, ageing, and traffic accidents. Additionally, it ignores the fact that only 20% of Qatar’s foreign workers are employed on construction sites.

90% of Qatar’s workforce is made up of migrant workers, according to Amnesty International.

Human Rights Organizations have discovered that since Qatar was given the 2010 World Cup, many migrant workers have experienced delayed or unpaid wages, forced labour, long hours in hot weather, employer intimidation, and being unable to quit their jobs due to the country’s sponsorship system.

Morgan asked Al-Thawadi if the project’s initial health and safety standards were adequate. Al-Thawadi replied, “I think overall the need for labour reform itself dictates that, yes, improvements have to happen.”

This was something that was recognised before we bid, just so we’re clear. The World Cup did not result in the improvements that have occurred. We were aware that we had to make these changes due to our own values.

He continued, “the World Cup Served As A Vehicle, As An Accelerator, As A Catalyst” because of the early recognition of the spotlight.

“It spawned a slew of initiatives aimed not only at improving the law but also at enforcing it.”

“And that’s how we arrived at the point where even our most ardent detractors now view us as a benchmark in the area,” the statement continued.

Because of the changes, the Kafala System, which gives businesses and private citizens control over migrant workers’ jobs and immigration status, has changed in a big way.

Prior to the World Cup, which started earlier this month and ends on December 18, Qatar built new hotels, expanded the nation’s airport, rail network, and highways, and built seven new stadiums.

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