Nepalese workers have been building Qatar’s 2022 Word Cup stadiums. They work under harsh, terrible conditions daily. However, after the April 2015 earthquake struck, the worst atrocity yet emerged: over 25,000 people died or were injured in the earthquake. But Nepalese workers are forbidden to visit their homeland for funerals of their family members.
Nepal’s labor minister is making this injustice a human-rights violation public and demanding that Qatar and FIFA take accountability. Other Nepalese workers who are working in other parts of Qatar have been given leave and air fare home, but those on the World Cup construction sites have not and must keep working in order to complete the stadiums on time.
Over 4,000 World Cup workers will die before the world Cup commences in 2022. However, this number is an underestimate, as only two companies collected his data, which is only 5% of the total migrant workforce.
Qatar has a kafala system, meaning that the employer has almost complete control over the lives of the workers. These workers are given promises of living conditions, safety protocals, wages, and length of employment, all of which were false. Workers are not given salaries or passports, meaning that they are kept enslaved.
Workers account that they work hard, want what is owed to them, and simply want to go home. They do not want to be kept in their cramped conditions, bad food, and bad water. One worker manager recounts how he showed up for work, there was blood everywhere, and there was no report on it. When he reported it, he was told that he would be dismissed unless he stopped complaining.
Qatar officials knows that nothing will change until the people running FIFA and it’s sponsors want it to change. But even FIFA president only has given noncommittal responses to questions regarding these conditions.
Will FIFA change? The U.S. Justice Department has begun arresting soccer officials, so there is hope that change can take effect.