Human rights organisation Amnesty International has published a damning report, revealing that migrant workers building infrastructure in Doha, Qatar for the 2022 World Cup are suffering systematic abuse from their employers.
The 50-page report released on Thursday claims that dozens of construction workers from Nepal and India were charged recruitment fees by agents in their home countries, housed in squalid accommodation and barred from leaving the country by employers in Qatar who confiscated their passports.
The report, dubbed, The ugly side of the beautiful game: Labour exploitation on a Qatar 2022 World Cup venue, attacks the Qatar government as “apathetic” and world football federation FIFA as “indifferent.”
For players and fans, a World Cup stadium is a place of dreams. For some of the workers who spoke to us, it can feel like a living nightmare.
The head of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, which is responsible for the delivery of all tournament-related infrastructure, said Amnesty had identified challenges in worker conditions and Doha was working to reduce these kinds of abuses which he said occur on construction sites all over the world.
Amnesty Secretary-General Salil Shetty said: “The abuse of migrant workers is a stain on the conscience of world football. For players and fans, a World Cup stadium is a place of dreams. For some of the workers who spoke to us, it can feel like a living nightmare.”
Amnesty said it interviewed 132 workers involved in the rebuilding of the Khalifa Stadium, a vast sporting complex in Doha that is part of a $200 billion construction boom in the gas-rich Gulf state that will host a World Cup quarter-final.
Seven Nepalese men who worked on Khalifa Stadium for a subcontractor told Amnesty they had wanted to return home to check on their families after the earthquakes that hit Nepal in 2015, but their employer did not allow them to leave.
Another worker said his manager shouted at him and threatened to withhold delayed salary payments after he said he wanted to quit.
Niko, a 32-year-old Nepalese worker pruning plants next to Khalifa Stadium on Wednesday, said he had not been mistreated but knew other workers whose passports had been confiscated.