The Cost of Hosting
With the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar, massive construction plans have been underway for the past few years, since winning the hosting nation draw years ago. It is reported that as many as seven stadiums, new airports, hotels, and road reworks are underway in this short time, leading to a massive need for workers. Near Qatar, many migrants from middle eastern and east asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have reported deaths of about 5900 people, while others speculate for this death toll to be higher, even up to 6500. Data has shown that these workers had died after construction plans began and that reportedly many were in good health, even though they were described as “natural causes”. Many suspect that these workers died due to Qatar not placing emphasis on health and safety regulations, as well as being overworked in extreme conditions. “There is a need for Qatar to strengthen its occupational health and safety standards.” said May Romanos, Gulf researcher for Amnesty International, reported by the Guardian. Many people like May Romanos have called for worker reforms in Qatar, calling it a tragedy and that the Qataris government has not shown enough support for these workers. FIFA, the sports association in charge of the World Cup, have not yet released much comments or opinions around this tragedy.
Compared to the last world cup hosted by Russia in 2018, the amount of deaths is noticeably staggering. During the construction of stadiums in Russia in 2018, 21 deaths were recorded, compared to the 6500 in Qatar. Those deaths, like Qatar, were because of poor living conditions, little to no pay, and terrible living conditions. The New York Times wrote, “Some were not paid at all, received partial pay or had to wait months to receive their wages. Some were forced to work in temperatures as low as 13 degrees below zero Fahrenheit without sufficient protection against the cold.” Human rights activists have garnered attention around this issue, with much outrage at FIFA’s handling of the situation, allowing these deaths to happen.
We send our condolences to the workers’ families who have lost their lives.