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12° Nicosia,
05 February, 2023
 
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World Cup Chief Executive: 'Death is a part of life'

Nasser Al Khater, Chief Executive of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, made the remarks in response to another migrant worker death at the training site

Source: Daily Mail

The Qatar World Cup chief executive said 'death is a part of life' in response to the tragic death of yet another migrant worker who has died at a training site.

Qatar had come under increasing scrutiny by human rights groups since being awarded World Cup hosting rights in 2010 over its treatment of migrant workers,

Nasser Al Khater, Chief Executive of the 2022 World Cup in Doha, confirmed the death of the worker, without providing specifics. He offered condolences to his family.

The worker was identified by the onsite crew as Alex, a man from the Philippines. He reportedly slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell against concrete. Medics responded to the scene, but Alex could not be saved.

Qatari officials said they have launched a workplace safety investigation into his death.

'Death is a natural part of life, whether it's at work, whether it's in your sleep,' Khater said, voicing disappointment at journalists' questions about the report.

'We're in the middle of a World Cup. And we have a successful World Cup. And this is something you want to talk about right now?' he said.

Online sports publication The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Filipino worker was contracted to fix lights in a car park at the Sealine Resort, the training site of the Saudi national team. He died after he 'slipped off a ramp while walking alongside the vehicle and fell headfirst against concrete'.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, the report said the accident occurred during the World Cup, but did not specify when.

This is yet another tragic death to add to Qatar's grim treatment of migrant workers. It's thought that there could be as many as 6,500 migrants who have died while working on Qatar World Cup infrastructure.

Qatar's officials previously only admitted to three of the deaths.

But last week, Hassan Al-Thawadi - the Qatari official responsible for delivery of the World Cup - told Piers Morgan Uncensored that at least 400 had died.

'The estimate is around 400,' Mr. Al-Thawadi said. 'Between 400 and 500. I don't have the precise number, that is something that is being discussed.

In a statement following the news of the most recent death, a Qatari government official said: 'If the investigation concludes that safety protocols were not followed, the company will be subject to legal action and severe financial penalties,'

'The rate of work-related accidents has consistently declined in Qatar since strict health and safety standards were introduced and enforcement has been stepped up,' the official claimed.

Qatar had come under increasing scrutiny by human rights groups since being awarded World Cup hosting rights in 2010 over its treatment of migrant workers, who account for the majority of the Gulf Arab state's population.

The tournament, the first to be held in the Middle East where other countries have also faced criticism over migrant workers' rights, has been mired in controversy with some soccer stars and European officials criticizing Qatar's human rights record, including on labor, LGBT+ and women's rights.

Qatar's World Cup organizers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said in a statement that it was not involved in the Qatari investigation as 'the deceased [was] working as a contractor, not under the remit of the SC [Supreme Committee]'.

The number of work-related deaths in Qatar is in dispute.

The Guardian reported last year that at least 6,500 migrant workers - many of them working on World Cup projects - had died in Qatar since it won the right to stage the event, according to the paper's calculations from official records.

In response, Qatar said the number of deaths was proportionate to the size of the migrant workforce, and included many non-manual workers, adding that every life lost was a tragedy.

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Cyprus  |  Qatar  |  workers

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