World Cup - Report accuses Qatar of working 1,200 people to death

A new report claims that over a thousand people have died in Qatar during their £39 billion building spree for the 2022 World Cup.

World Cup - Report accuses Qatar of working 1,200 people to death

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Members of the Swiss UNIA workers union display red cards and shout slogans during a protest in front of the headquarters of soccer's international governing body FIFA (Reuters)

The report in the Daily Mirror says that: "Qatar is accused of working 1,200 migrants to death since being awarded the World Cup in 2010 and campaigners have insisted the shocking death toll could reach 4,000 before a ball is even kicked in the Finals."

Qatar has promised to improve its labour laws after persistent criticism from human rights groups over its treatment of workers.

The European Parliament subcommittee on human rights, which is looking into the issue of sports and human rights, last month decided to help Qatar introduce labour reforms after a hearing with several witnesses including human rights groups and the UN's International Labour Organisation.

Faced with the challenge of completing big construction and infrastructure projects before the World Cup, Qatar has an increasing number of its estimated 1.8 million foreigners working on projects related to football's showcase event.

Last month, Qatar's 2022 World Cup organisers said they will penalise contractors who violate the welfare of construction workers after the Gulf country was widely criticised over its labour rights record.

But the measures, which included detailed standards unveiled by the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, did not deal with the sponsorship system for migrant workers that a U.N. official said in November was a source of labour abuse.

In a Special Report for Eurosport last September, Philippe Auclair exposed the unseen human cost of holding the World Cup in Qatar.

"Qatar can boast of the highest GDP per capita in the world - $106,000 (£68,000) in 2012, according to the International Monetary Fund. But this figure doesn’t reflect the huge disparity between the incomes of Qatari nationals and the non-national transients who make the overwhelming majority of the population, and whose lot is a sorry one," wrote Auclair.

"The recruitment process itself is highly suspect, relying on a system of sponsorship via placement agencies which is widely abused; passports may be confiscated on arrival; and, once in situ, those immigrants are routinely denied basic rights granted to workers in most parts of the world. They are de facto non-citizens. Football has, so far, chosen to ignore this.

"According to all independent reports, those migrant workers toil six days a week (no summer break for them), 10 hours a day, for less than $10 (£6.40) a shift. They are crammed in rudimentary camps mostly devoid of decent sanitation and – not a luxury in Qatar – air conditioning.

"Though official statistics are not available, credible evidence has emerged to suggest a staggering death rate among the young, fit men who come to work there."

Mirror reporter Kevin Maguire noted in the latest piece: "In one camp in downtown Doha, the capital, I saw nine workers crammed into a tiny, cockroach-infested room. Just a few miles away I later watched the elite of Qatar – the richest country per head on earth – pull up outside a Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Ferraris and Rolls-Royces."

Earlier this month Qatar's 2022 World Cup organising committee also were forced to come out and deny being aware of any alleged payments by the disgraced former head of the country's football association to an ex-vice president of FIFA.

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper reported that a company under the control of Mohamed Bin Hammam paid $1.2 million to Jack Warner, the former president of North American football's governing body CONCACAF and a member of the FIFA committee which chose the 2022 World Cup hosts.

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