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Friday, September 17, 2021

Qatar 2022 World Cup worker dies at Wakrah stadium site

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Al Wakrah Stadium
Al Wakrah Stadium

An employee on the under-construction Al Wakrah stadium died on-site yesterday in a “work-related” incident, Qatar’s World Cup organizers have said.

This is the first person to die while working on one of these stadiums.

In a brief statement on its website, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) gave no information about the identity of the victim or what happened.

Wakrah Stadium workers - for illustrative purposes only
Wakrah Stadium workers – for illustrative purposes only

Speaking to Doha News, a spokesman refused to answer any questions about the incident, saying that an investigation was ongoing.

The statement said:

“It is with deep regret we announce a work-related fatality on one of our projects.

Following an incident on Al Wakrah Stadium on Saturday morning, a full investigation is underway to determine the factors which contributed to the death of one of our workers.”

It added that the “relevant authorities were immediately informed” and that the family of the worker has been notified.

“We offer them all the necessary support they may need at such a difficult time,” it added.

Previous injuries

Earlier this year, World Cup organizers announced that two Indian expats contracted on the stadiums had died in non-work related incidents.

One of them was a 52-year-old painter working on the Khalifa International Stadium site who went into cardiac arrest during lunch at one of the site’s dining halls and died in the hospital in October 2015.

Construction workers eat at Khalifa Stadium
Khalifa Stadium mess hall

And in January of this year, a 55-year-old truck driver suffered a heart attack in his accommodation and later passed away.

Meanwhile, six individuals suffered serious injuries. These ranged from a fractured ankle to the amputation of one worker’s fingertip after it became caught between two steel beams, according to a worker welfare report.

Debunked estimates

Previously, critics of Qatar have claimed that thousands of expatriate workers brought to the country will die before 2022.

In 2013, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) asserted that more than 4,000 people risked death “if no action is taken to give migrant workers’ rights.”

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow
ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow

The union’s figures were based on fatality data from the Nepali and Indian embassies in Qatar and factored in all deaths, not just those on construction sites or even people working on World Cup projects.

This claim was later repeated by other organizations and media outlets.

But earlier this year, ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow appeared to back-track, telling Doha News she had never suggested anyone has died building World Cup stadiums:

“We’ve never said that,” she said. “I’ve never said ‘on World Cup stadiums’…I’ve said up to 4,000 workers will die in Qatar before a ball is kicked off in 2022. That’s a very conservative figure.”

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