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The human cost of Qatar’s 2022 World Cup dream | Football


In less than a year, millions of football fans will descend on Qatar to cheer on their favourite teams in the 2022 World Cup. They’ll be greeted by dozens of shiny new hotels, restaurants, roadways, and seven glistening new football stadiums. It will be a proud moment for Qatar – and for the entire region, which has never previously hosted a World Cup.

Pete Pattisson has been reporting on the preparations for the tournament for nearly a decade, and he says the stadiums are stunning. But they have come at a cost: Pattisson’s reporting shows that some 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have died in the course of World Cup preparations – many from sudden, unexplained causes.

In response to international pressure, Qatar implemented a series of labour reforms in 2020. The government ended kafala, the restrictive system which had prevented migrant workers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their employer’s permission; and it raised the minimum wage for labourers. But for many thousands of workers, it was too late.

Pattison tells Michael Safi about some of the workers who have lost their lives, and why the wage and labour reforms implemented by Qatar’s government fall short.

A view of the ceremony during unveiling of Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 countdown clock

Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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