Not a single death on Qatar World Cup construction projects
No laborers working on the construction of infrastructure related to the World Cup have suffered any kind of injuries or succumbed to death. Nasser al-Khater hit back at international media who claimed that immigrant workers, who are working on World Cup related projects , were dying in thousands.
He speaking to the delegates present at the prestigious Soccerex Asian Forum in Jordan , where he crept upon the topic of worker rights under the kafala system.
“Contrary to what the international media says there has not been a single injury or death on the World Cup projects,” he began before sarcastically mocking the media. “It’s not possible to have 400 deaths when you are still digging a hole in the ground so I would like to make sure this matter is put to rest. However, we have taken the issue of workers welfare very seriously and made sure that the highest standards in terms of workers welfare are stated in all our contracts. “
“We have always said the World Cup is a catalyst for change and we welcome the spotlight this issue has brought.”
Al Khater repeated that construction had begun only on one stadium, while international media spread confirmed reports about how South Asian workers were dying rapidly in the Middle Eastern country. He stressed on the point that new reforms are going to be made regarding labor welfare and they will be implemented. Positive signs were seen as the government announced reforms of the strict system in place .
Another issue was about the number of stadiums. Rumors were rife about Qatar reducing the number of stadiums due to budget cuts. These were also put to bed. Official FIFA rules state that atleast 8 stadiums are necessary.
“There has been a lot of speculation that Qatar has minimised the number of stadiums and some have said it’s because of budget cuts. That’s not true. Given the size of the country, while we propose 12 stadiums, eight are in final preparation. Of those eight, five will be in different phases of construction by end of this year, with the remaining three announced after 2014. Then, in 2015 we will decide alongside FIFA how many stadia Qatar really needs. We will make sure that the World Cup will represent the Middle East – and that when we welcome the fans they get a taste of the culture and understand that the Middle East is not what is being perceived right now.”