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After facing criticism from all corners of the world for its modern-day slave labor practices prior to hosting the 2022 World Cup, a Qatar official has admitted that “between 400 and 500” migrant workers died in the lead-up to soccer’s biggest tournament.
Hassan Al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, shared the number during an interview with Piers Morgan.
“The estimate is around 400,” Thawadi told Morgan. “Between 400 and 500. I don’t have the precise number, that is something that is being discussed.”
Thawadi then had the audacity to say “one death is too many” after admitting upwards of 500 people died while building structures to host a sporting event.
The Qatari official stating that 400 to 500 migrant workers perished is surprising for two obvious reasons. First and foremost, Qatar does not admit wrongdoing as it continuously tries to portray to the rest of the world that it’s a superior country. Secondly, the 400-500 number is drastically higher than the numbers previously offered by officials.
Qatar’s Supreme Court Committee has continuously stated that there have only been three work-related deaths and 37 non-work-related deaths since construction for the World Cup began in 2014.
To no surprise at all, Qatar officials have been lying from day one. Thawadi admitting upwards of 500 migrant workers have died is a start, but it’s no secret that even that 500 number is likely far lower than the actual total of fatalities.
Qatar Imports Migrant Workers To Build World Cup Stadiums
Qatar had 30,000 migrants imported to work on the seven World Cup stadiums and then paid these workers (slaves) incredibly low wages. If these workers complain too strongly about work conditions or wages they are reportedly subject to arrest and physical assault.
The migrant labor system used in Qatar, and other Gulf Arab states, is called kafala. Companies sponsor foreigners to obtain work and residence permits who then arrive in Qatar via the funding of the companies. The kafala essentially makes these workers properties of the sponsoring companies, who can in turn have them arrested or deported.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris