Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of Qatar’s World Cup preparations, claimed that between 400 and 500 migrant workers have perished as a result of World Cup projects. Al-Thawadi responded, “The estimate is between 400 and 500,” when asked how many migrant workers have died as a result of their work on the tournament in an interview with a BBC presenter that aired on Monday.
“I don’t have the exact number; that’s something that’s been discussed.” “One death is too many; it’s as simple as that.”
“I think the health and safety standards on the sites are improving yearly, at least on the World Cup sites, which are the ones that we’re in charge of,” Al-Thawadi continued.
A government official report in November 2022 shows that there were three work-related fatalities on World Cup stadiums and 37 unrelated fatalities.
Since Qatar was given the right to host the 2010 World Cup, 6,500 South Asian migrant workers have passed away there, the majority of whom were engaged in hazardous, low-paying work that was often performed in flaming heat.
Meanwhile, a Qatari government official said last month: “The 6,500 figure is the total number of migrant workers’ deaths in the last 10 years, not the World Cup.” He continued to say that some of these deaths include illness, old age, and traffic accidents.”He also said only 20% of foreign workers in Qatar are employed on construction sites.”
90% of Qatar’s workforce, according to Amnesty International, is made up of migrant workers.
Human rights organizations have discovered that since Qatar was given the 2010 World Cup, many migrant workers have experienced delayed or unpaid wages, forced labor, long hours in hot weather, employer intimidation, and an inability to quit their jobs due to the country’s sponsorship system.
Al-Thawadi responded to questions of whether the health and safety standards were good enough from the start of the project. He said I believe that overall improvements are required because labor reform is necessary.
He continued to be clear; this was something that was acknowledged before we made our bid. The improvements that have taken place are not the result of the World Cup; rather, they are changes that we knew we had to make due to our own values.
“We recognized the spotlight early on, and the World Cup served as a vehicle, an accelerator, and a catalyst,” he continued.
“It caused a lot of these initiatives, not only in terms of improvement in the legislation but in the enforcement of it as well.”
“And it’s because of this that even our harshest detractors now regard us as a benchmark in the area.”
The Kafala system, which gives businesses and private individuals control over migrant workers’ employment and immigration status, has undergone significant change as a result of the changes.
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 system, and highways, and built seven new stadiums.