Qatar: No Guest Workers Died for World Cup

The Qatari government has rejected the conclusions of a Washington Post blogpost which claimed that as many as 1,200 migrant workers had died while working on projects related to the 2022 World Cup — and that as many as 4,000 could perish before the tournament takes place.

“This is completely untrue,” the Qatari Government Communications Office said in a statement. “After almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost. Not one.”

The Washington Post article looked at Qatar’s track record concerning the treatment of guest workers. The rich Gulf emirate, whose construction industry is booming, has been at the receiving end of severe criticism from human rights agencies over the way migrant workers are treated.

Guest workers are granted temporary visas but are prevented from leaving the country or changing jobs without their employers explicit consent. This has raised criticism that Qatar is using slave labour to build the infrastructure needed for the $200 billion football spectacle.

However, the Washington Post article may have fudged the statistics concerning lives lost on the world cup projects.

In fact, the newspaper has since changed an accompanying graphic to clarify that the 1,200 who died included all guest workers who died in Qatar since it was awarded the World Cup in 2010 and not just on tournament-specific projects.