Last weekend, FIFA’s executive met to deal with a mountain of problems surrounding its choice to give Qatar the right to host the 2022 World Cup. It originally thought the biggest issue would be finding a solution to playing soccer in the Gulf nation’s searing summer heat, but now the international soccer body is facing a growing scandal over the abuse of migrant labourers working on sites for the $100-billion tournament.
In recent weeks, human rights organizations and the Guardian newspaper revealed that more than 40 young Nepali migrant workers have died suspiciously on Qatari construction sites related to the 2022 competition. Other workers speak of horrific working conditions, lack of food and water, and cramped barracks, all courtesy of companies that allegedly haven’t paid them for months on end. It is in sharp contrast to the promises contained in the “2022 Workers Charter” that Qatar drafted to head off long-standing criticisms of how the oil-rich state treats migrant labourers.
While saying the migrant problem wasn’t “FIFA’s remit,” president Sepp Blatter said his organization was “not indifferent” and that he’d discuss the issue with Qatar’s emir. Labour organzations aren’t optimistic anything will change.