Football

Qatar Hit Out At 'Completely Untrue' Reports Of World Cup Deaths

Qatar Hit Out At 'Completely Untrue' Reports Of World Cup Deaths

In the past couple of weeks, this infographic has been seen by millions of people. Courtesy of the Washington Post, it puts into stark contrast just how costly the 2022 World Cup has been, and that's purely in a human sense.

The realisation that people are dying in Qatar is not new, yet the infographic has put it into context for many people. However, the Qatar authorities have now issued a strong denial of the Post's claims.

Published through the Qatar News Agency, the Gulf state has stated that it is completely untrue that 4,000 workers are expected to die bringing the World Cup to Qatar in 2022.

An article in the Washington Post on 27 May claimed that 4,000 workers are likely to die while working on World Cup sites, and that some 1,200 had already lost their lives. This is completely untrue. In fact, after almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost. Not one.

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Qatar's treatment of migrant workers, mostly from south Asia, is quite simply despicable. The practice of withholding passports and the pitiful wages that are paid is akin to modern day slavery. However, the World Cup 2022 authorities say that this has little to do with football's showpiece event and the Post's numbers stem from the total number of Indian and Nepalese workers expected to die in the Qatar between now and 2022, a calculation which, according to Qatar 'assumes that the death of every migrant worker in Qatar is work related.'

The Post’s article was accompanied by a dramatic graphic, which purports to compare the imagined fatalities in Qatar with the number of lives lost in the construction of other international sports venues, including the London Olympics, where just one worker was reported to have died.

A more accurate comparison according to the Post's analysis would have also suggested that every migrant worker in the United Kingdom who died between 2005 and 2012 - whatever the job and whatever the cause of death - was killed in the construction of the 2012 London Olympics.

Authorities have written to the Post to request the removal of the article and it must be said that the Post has now updated it's article to reflect the reality of their figures.

This story has been updated to reflect the fact that figures include total migrant worker deaths in Qatar, not just World Cup-related deaths. 

Gary Reilly

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