Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers say they are “appalled” by the findings of a Guardian investigation into the treatment of migrant workers in the country.
The newspaper says Nepalese workers in Qatar “face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery”.
“There is no excuse for any worker in Qatar, or anywhere else, to be treated in this manner,” a statement read.
“Like everyone viewing the video and images, and reading the accompanying texts, we are appalled by the findings presented in the Guardian’s report.”
It us unclear whether they were appalled by the treatment of the workers or the fact that the Guardian had printed details of how they were treated.
“There is no excuse for any worker in Qatar, or anywhere else, to be treated in this manner. The health, safety, well-being and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee and we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar.”
They also added they will be investigating the claims made by the newspaper.
“We firmly believe that all workers engaged on our projects, and those of the other infrastructure developers in Qatar, have a right to be treated in a manner that ensures at all times their wellbeing, safety, security, and dignity.
“This is our top priority as we begin to deliver on the promises made in our bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”
The guardian report claimed that at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents.
Their investigation also revealed:
• Evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.
• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.
• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.
• Some labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.
• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment.
Meanwhile, Jim Boyce, a FIFA vice-president, called for an immediate investigation into the ill treatment of thousands working in Qatar.
“I was appalled and very disturbed after reading the allegations in the newspaper this morning. FIFA must investigate this information immediately and report the full findings at the earliest opportunity to the FIFA executive committee,” he told the Guardian.
So, he, like the organising committee, is appalled. It’s almost as if everyone has been burying their heads in the sand (no pun) these past few years. Because if there is one thing we have known about when it comes to the phenomenal building projects which have sprung up in the energy rich gulf states in recent years, it is that they have been built on the back of slave labour.