According to a damning report by Amnesty International, Qatar is still ignoring the ongoing mistreatment and abuse of its vast amount of migrant workers, the majority of whom are attempting to piece together the infrastructure required to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
Back in May, promises were made by the Qatari hierarchy that the rights of the migrant workforce would improve, after worldwide disgust at the exploitation of foreign workers in the construction industry.
Unfortunately the promises would appear to have been hollow, and Amnesty has reported that progress to end the mistreatment has been minimal. Laws in Qatar mirror those in the UAE and more specifically Dubai, which essentially ties a worker to a single company and allows the passport to be held until such time as the employer wishes to allow it to be returned.
Already the award of the World Cup in Qatar is steeped in controversy. From the lack of any kind of real football heritage, the lack of stadia and facilities, the excessive temperatures, and of course, the alleged voting irregularities and down payments, published in an investigative report which will most likely never see the light of day in the public domain. Throw into the mix that the tournament looks as though it will be built on a legacy of broken promises and exploitation, and you can see why the prominent national governing bodies for each footballing nation – not to mention the majority of football fans around the world –would really rather see a second ballot with a touch more transparency occur.
The oil-rich GCC member state has witnessed record numbers of migrant workers since the award of the right to host the spectacle, and last year alone over 180 workers are said to have died in the construction process due to poor and unsafe working practices.
Qatar is predicted to part with over $200 billion to lay on the football tournament, and – despite only having one recognised city – promises to lay on a tournament that will surprise a lot of sceptics. For many, the real surprise will be if the tournament seriously goes ahead….