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According to Qatar, how many World Cup-related migrant worker deaths have there been?

Hassan Al Thawadi, one of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s main organisers, has admitted a significant number of migrant worker deaths have occurred.

Roddy Cons
Hassan Al Thawadi, one of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s main organisers, has admitted a significant number of migrant worker deaths have occurred.

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy and one of the principal organisers of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, has claimed that “between 400 and 500″ migrant workers have died while working on World-Cup-related projects.

The estimate is between 400 and 500. I don’t have the exact number, that’s something that’s being discussed,” stated Al Thawadi, speaking to British TV broadcaster and personality Piers Morgan on TalkTV.

Qatar: ‘only’ 40 deaths related to the construction of World Cup stadiums

Al Thawadi, who insisted that health and safety standards in Qatar had improved incrementally with time, stressed that only 40 of those deaths were of workers participating in the construction of World Cup stadiums and that only three of those 40 had been work-related deaths. The remaining deaths were of workers who had been involved in the construction of roads, hotels and other kinds of infrastructure.

“One death is a death too many. Plain and simple. I think every year the health and safety standards on our sites are improving. The World Cup sites, the ones we’re responsible for, most definitely. You’ve got trade unions, representatives of the German trade union, representatives of the Swiss trade union have commended the work that’s been done on World Cup sites.”

Al Thawadi also claims that vast improvements had been made in this area in Qatar before the Gulf State had even bid for the tournament and that Qatar is seen as a benchmark by neighbouring countries.

Al Thawadi: Qatar is a benchmark in the region

“I think, overall, the need for labour reform itself dictates that, yes, improvements had to happen. This was something that was recognised before we bid. The improvement that happened isn’t because of the World Cup. These are improvements that we knew we had to do because of our own values. Whether it’s health and safety standards, improving accommodation standards, whether it’s in charge of dismantling the kafala system. The World Cup served as a vehicle, as an accelerant, as a catalyst. It caused a lot of these initiatives. Now we’re in a position where our most ardent of critics consider us to be a benchmark in the region.”

Qatar had previously admitted that 40 migrant workers had died during the construction of stadiums but Al Thawadi’s revelation that up to 500 had lost their lives in World Cup-related projects is a first.

Other investigations find significantly higher number of migrant worker deaths

An investigation carried out by British newspaper The Guardian concluded that 6500 migrant workers had died during the World Cup preparations in Qatar, while Amnesty International claim the figure is as high as 15,021.

FIFA’s decision to award the world’s biggest and most prestigious sporting event to the Gulf state has been fiercely criticised ever since it was made in 2010. Along with the mistreatment of migrant workers, the nation’s human rights record, suppression of dissent and persecution of LGBTQ people are among a number of issues that have been highlighted by protestors against Qatar’s suitability as World Cup host.

Matchday three of the group stage of the most controversial World Cup in recent times kicks off on Tuesday, with the Iran’s game against the USMNT one of headline acts given the unrest in the Islamic Republic which has also affected the Iranian national team.


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