There is still a long way to go before the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, but there is a lot of trouble brewing. Numerous rumours have emerged surrounding the working conditions oof the ones building the stadiums.
According to a WDR documentary, journalists who with to film in Qatar must get prior approval of the government. However, WDR sent a journalist without the government’s knowledge. That journalist possessed a hidden camera to find out the truth about the 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations.
Speaking to the journalist, some workers said, “We are captured. We live off water & bread, we can’t afford anything else. Our situation is getting worse on a monthly basis. I can’t take it anymore. Sometimes I ask myself whether I’d be better off dead.” “We must be saved from this place. Someone must help us”.
“After four months without being paid, we stopped working… Our bosses rejected us. They told us we can go to work for another company. But that’s not possible without our papers. We went to labor court and to the embassy, but nothing’s changed.”
The workers also warned the journalist that there are often undercover police and security forces patrolling the area. They say that interviews carried out with workers without approval from the government could more than likely lead to jail sentences.
One of the workers even revealed that their payment system is also very inconsistent. He confessed that the last time he was paid was in December 2018. WDR even requested the Nepali government for data on guest workers who died in Qatar.
According to that information, 1,426 guest workers from Nepal died in Qatar between 2009 and 2019. At least 522 of the deaths were a result of sudden heart failures. Another 111 deaths occurred in 2019 alone. In fact, workers hailed from not just Nepal, but from Bangladesh, India and other countries as well.
According to the Indian embassy in Doha, 761 Indian nationals have died in Qatar between January 2014 and September 2016. The family of a deceased worker told WDR that the victim worked in different construction sites in Qatar as an electrician and died of exhaustion. Guest workers always undergo medical checks before the hiring process to rule out pre-existing medical conditions.
Interestingly, a former employee has compared working for Qatar Airways to “modern slavery.”
Bundesliga giants, Bayern Munich have a sponsorship agreement in place with Qatar Airways. In fact, the team often travels to winter camps in the country. However, some of Bayern Munich’s hardcore fans have been vehemently protesting against the club’s dealings with Qatar.
FIFA’s responded to WDR’s findings of the 2022 FIFA World Cup: “These are serious allegations… We’ll examine them with the organising committee.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino spoke about the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He said: “This World Cup will leave a very important legacy… Without it, we wouldn’t be talking about workers’ rights.”