Migrant Workers Allege Lack of Payment for Work on 2022 Qatar World Cup Offices

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2014

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Another harrowing tale has come out of Qatar in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. Migrant workers who built the World Cup officials' offices have alleged that they haven't been paid in up to a year, per The Guardian's Robert Booth and Pete Pattisson:

Officials in Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy have been using offices on the 38th and 39th floors of Doha's landmark Al Bidda skyscraper – known as the Tower of Football – which were fitted out by men from Nepal, Sri Lanka and India who say they have not been paid for up to 13 months' work.

'We don't know how much they are spending on the World Cup but we just need our salary,' one worker said after losing a year's pay on the project. 'We were working but not getting the salary. The government, the company: just provide the money.'

Booth and Pattisson also provided a brief glimpse into what the living conditions are for the migrant workers brought in to help Qatar get ready for the World Cup:

The migrants are squeezed seven to a room, sleeping on thin, dirty mattresses on the floor and on bunk beds, in breach of Qatar's own labour standards. They live in constant fear of imprisonment because they have been left without paperwork after the contractor on the project, Lee Trading and Contracting, collapsed. They say they are now being exploited on wages as low as 50p an hour.

This is only the most recent tale of how poor the working conditions are for those building the infrastructure in Qatar. Slate's Jeremy Stahl wrote an article about the situation that was in part titled "The Qatar World Cup Is a Human Rights Catastrophe."     

According to the International Trade Union Confederation in September 2013, possibly 4,000 or more migrant workers will die before the 2022 World Cup begins.

Booth reported in October 2013 that an estimated 70 workers from Nepal had been killed during construction for the World Cup dating back to the start of 2012.

In November 2013, Amnesty International published a report on the strife the workers face. It makes mentions of salaries being lower than the workers were promised before they arrived, while some salaries weren't paid out at all. Some employers stole workers' passports in an effort to keep them in the country.

The Guardian's Owen Gibson believes that the human rights abuses ongoing in Qatar are more publicly known and discussed, but it's doing little to stem the tide in the host country:

FIFA has given no indication that it is thinking about moving the 2022 World Cup in light of any of these developments. Sepp Blatter recently met with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, after which he said, via FIFA.com:

It was great to see his and Qatar’s commitment to use the 2022 FIFA World Cup to achieve positive social change and to promote the host country and region. Qatar takes its responsibility as hosts seriously. We also discussed the importance of further developing football in the region.

Until football's governing body decides to take action, this issue is unlikely to go away, thus fomenting more hostility toward the group from fans across the globe.

FIFA's continued inaction may cost more workers their lives.