Qatar has been named the host of World Cup 2022 by the football (soccer) federation authority, FIFA. For most soccer fans, a World Cup stadium represents a place where the beautiful game is played. However, for the workers in Qatar, the place feels like a living nightmare, according to the Secretary General of the Amnesty International, Salil Setty.
Reports have revealed shocking insights about the abuse of the World Cup workers in Qatar. Amnesty International report says that many migrant workers have suffered systematic abuse in the country.
The report from the international human rights agency has revealed appalling indifference of FIFA over the horrendous treatment of the World Cup workers in the oil-rich gulf country. The oil and gas-rich country have invested about $200 billion in upgrading infrastructure in the country to bring it in line with international standards.
The country has recruited around 3,600 workers mostly from the countries of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh. Their number is expected to increase 10 times to 36,000 in the next two years. However, the living condition of the foreign workers in the Arab oil rich country is nothing horrendous by any standards.
A report published in the British Guardian newspaper had stated that around dozens of Nepali workers had died building the stadiums and other infrastructure in Qatar. Apart from the horrendous working conditions in Qatar for the foreign worker, the sponsorship system known as ‘kafala’ allows for exploitation of the workers by their owners.
Migrant workers in Qatar that outnumber the Arabs by nearly 20 to one are not allowed to change jobs or leave the country without getting the approval of the sponsor. They can be jailed and instantly deported for holding protests or forming unions.
The Amnesty International report showed that the workers were not allowed to visit the loved ones even after the devastating 2015 earthquake that left thousands dead or displaced in Nepal from where most of the expat workers belonged.
Most of the workers describe their life in the country as a prison as they have to suffer many hours of work under the scorching sun. Due to the horrendous treatment and abuse suffered from the Qatari authorities, one of the workers had sued the football governing authority FIFA for acting indifferently over the abhorrent treatment of the foreign workers.
Unless instant and firm actions are taken, the reports of abuse are expected to increase significantly when the country’s comprehensive plan to upgrade the infrastructure peaks in mid-2017. The World Cup workers in Qatar working at the construction site are facing constant abuse and fear that if not addressed could tarnish the image of football as a beautiful game.