Qatar faces backlash over treatment of World Cup workers

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Although the World Cup is an exciting event for many, what can also be interesting is the venue where it takes place. This year the event is taking place in Qatar, which has spent billions of dollars building for the event.

For context, the World Cup is set to start in just a few weeks with the first official match taking place on November 20. 32 teams were placed in eight groups of four nations, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for one round. of 16, followed by a quarter-final, a semi-final and the final. Brazil are currently in first place, holding a lead over Belgium in the standings. The United States is currently ranked number 16.

Qatar’s preparation for the World Cup has come under scrutiny for many, especially when it comes to their treatment of its workers and civil rights.

Some would say this event is just about football, but for many it’s more than that. Since construction began in 2011, shortly after the announcement of the World Cup in Qatar in 2010, thousands of migrant workers have died in what is dubbed the “Aspire Zone”.

This area not only includes the construction of seven new stadiums, but also includes hotels, a new airport, new roads and public transport systems. This billion dollar project is practically funding a new World Cup city.

About 6,000 workers, mostly from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, have died since construction of the Aspire Zone began. These figures do not include migrants from other countries, such as the Philippines and Kenya, as well as figures after the end of 2020.

Qatar is also notorious for its lack of reporting on the treatment and health of its workers.

What is known is that the conditions in which they live are quite poor, with unsanitary and dangerous accommodation. Additionally, wages are often withheld from workers and passports confiscated, so workers must remain for the duration of construction.

The heat in Qatar is also a source of speculation, as many workers develop problems related to heat stress. This is another issue that has come up with the hosting of the World Cup in Qatar this year.

Environmentalists have complained about the CO2 emissions associated with air-conditioning stadiums, but it appears to be a necessary health precaution for players to be able to compete in searing heat, although that luxury has clearly not been extended to the workers who do so. create.

Some cities in Europe are refusing to open their fan spaces due to these labor and environmental violations. There have also been many verbal and media objections to the event still being held in Qatar in light of the numerous human rights violations that have resulted.

Qatar believes that the criticism against them is unjustified and claims that many of these human rights violations are fabricated. Several surveys and testimonies tend to prove the opposite.

Qatar’s extreme dedication to the event seems evident, through the billions of dollars invested, but the methods by which it is achieved are questionable at best.

This is not a call for people not to watch the World Cup, although it may be difficult for many Americans to watch games broadcast as early as five in the morning, but it is a call for people are aware of what is going on behind the scenes. of massive undertakings such as the World Cup.

FIFA and the companies involved will reap significant financial gains from this event, but for those on the ground, the cost can be, and has been, much, much higher.

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