Skip to comments.How many deaths in Qatar is World Cup Worth?
Posted on 04/07/2014 10:33:59 AM PDT by Scoutmaster
Its time to call the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by its proper name: A humanitarian crisis.
The latest and most compelling evidence to date arrived in a special report, delicately titled the Case Against Qatar, issued by the International Trade Union Commission. The report delivers a litany of shocks, including this staggering estimate: Some 4,000 migrant construction workers will die in service to the 2022 Cup before it even begins.
Thats actually a conservative estimate. About 1,200 workers have died since 2010, when Qatar was first awarded the tournament. Construction is only just beginning to ramp up. The ten or so stadiums that remain to be built are but a small fraction of the World Cup projects on the books. There will be a new airport, subway lines, roads, 100-plus hotels and so much more. As the opening kick-off approaches, hundreds of thousands of additional migrant workers who already make up more than half the countrys population of 2 million will flood into Qatar.
They can look forward to sharing a single room with eleven other workers along with a single toilet in labor camps run by slumlords and patrolled by security guards. Leaving the country is not an option; employers confiscate workers passports. Maybe if youre lucky, after several years of service your company manager will allow you to go home for a few days to visit your loved ones; that is, if you leave a deposit of a few hundred dollars to ensure your return to work.
But lets get back to the report and those 4,000 or so anticipated fatalities:
Whether the cause of death is labeled a work accident, heart attack (brought on by life-threatening effects of heat stress) or diseases from squalid living conditions, the root cause is the same working conditions.
Needless to say, Qatar has gone way beyond the palm- greasing and forced relocation of the poor that often accompany the preparations for grand international sporting events. In the course of Brazils 2014 World Cup construction boom, a crude and slapdash affair, a total of seven workers have died. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa produced a death toll of two. Heres a more useful point of comparison, captured in a provocative headline on the web site Deadspin: Report: Qatars World Cup Expected to Take More Lives than 9/11.
As a general rule, FIFA deflects responsibility for the behavior of its host countries. Were just a football organization, not a lawmaking body, FIFA likes to say. It has called the situation in Qatar a complex matter.
Given Qatars callous disregard of so many lives, comparing the countrys behavior to an act of terrorism may not be entirely over the top. And however FIFA tries to spin this, the organization is complicit. At what point will it draw the line? Are 2,000 dead too many? Will FIFA take action when the toll of apparently disposable migrant workers surpasses 3,000? The International Trade Union Commissions estimate of the dead represents a massive moral failure. Allowing it to be realized would be criminal.
In contrast five workers reportedly have died in preparations for the 2018 tournament in Russia. Seven have died getting Brazil ready for this years World Cup. When South Africa hosted the last edition of the World Cup, there were just two casualties. Twenty-five died in preparation for the Sochi Winter Olympics. London's Olympic venues were built without a single death.
Last month, the Guardian reported that over 400 Nepalese migrant workers had already died at building sites. Between 2010 and 2012 more than 700 workers from India lost their lives working on construction sites in Qatar, too. A report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) says that if conditions dont get any better, by the time the World Cup kicks off, at least 4,000 migrant workers will have died on the job.
For comparison, 25 construction workers died during the preparations for Sochi. Only six workers have died during construction for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil that starts this summer. Only eleven men died during the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge in the 1930s. By all measures, the death count in Qatar is extreme.
Robert Booth at the Guardian explains why Qatar is so unusual:
Workers described forced labour in 50C (122F) heat, employers who retain salaries for several months and passports making it impossible for them to leave and being denied free drinking water. The investigation found sickness is endemic among workers living in overcrowded and insanitary conditions and hunger has been reported. Thirty Nepalese construction workers took refuge in the their country's embassy and subsequently left the country, after they claimed they received no pay.
According to the ITUC, there are already 1.2 million migrant workers in Qatar, and about a million more will probably pour into the country to help with construction. These are essentially slaves, Sharan Burrow from the ITUC told Booth. Fifa needs to send a very strong and clear message to Qatar that it will not allow the World Cup to be delivered on the back of a system of modern slavery that is the reality for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers there today," she said.
When presented with the results of the Guardian investigation, a spokesman from Qatar told Booth: The health, safety, wellbeing 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. Even 900 deaths during construction is unusual, and Qatar is years away from finishing their work. Chances are more people will die, and, if the ITUC is right, it could be thousands.
what is Qatar going to do with 10 stadiums after the games?
The 2022 WC will be played in the US....bank on it.
Probably the same thing Sochi will end up doing, let the abdonened and unfinished hotels and stadiums fall victim to scrap theives then forget they existed.
I bet 2018 SK will have a profitable winter olympics - and afterwards it will become a thriving ski resort
Qatar has ditched its famous plan to air condition the stadiums and practice facilities. 120-degree temperatures are common in the summer.
Qatar is asking to move the games to the fall/winter (and FIFA seems to be going along with the request), which would interfere with the NFL, and the English, Spanish, and Italian leagues. It's been reported that FIFA is quietly renegotiating TV contracts to reflect the lower viewership that would result from moving the World Cup to the fall/winter.
There will be select hotels that sell alcohol, but you can't have alcohol or be drunk in public. No beer at the games.
Entire cities have to be built. The city that will host the final, Lusail City, doesn't exist yet.
is the right answer “all of them”?
Who was the numbnut that thought having the WC in a Muslim country was a good idea?
The FIFA board members who received millions of dollars in bribes.
At the very least it won’t be abandoned.
I think the l.a. stadium is still in use ( or was for a long time)
1.8 million Quataries,
I would hope for maybe 1,7 million deaths as a result of the World Cup coming there,
In 1974 I went to Seoul, Yong Son to work for a year.
Got there in late February, it was 32 below zero.
I left 11 months and 28 days later and it was 32 below zero.
That is cold
At least yellow dust season is over quick
I say we arm these foreign workers and let them take over.
I wonder if anyone thought to wonder...
Suppose Qatar hosted a world cup... And nobody came?
Not likely, I know, if all the attendees are muslim, I hope the temperature is 150F