The president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, resigned today after being re-elected in the midst of an unprecedented scandal over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
Scandal is not new to the global scene, nor is the seedy underbelly of the construction industry in the countries where major facilities are needed to host the games. In this case, there are five stadiums being built for Qatar 2022, but recently, amid the scandal, the underbelly of global construction has once again been exposed in an investigative report by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
In a recent article by ABC, the kafala system of forced labor, “kin to slave labor” even though Qatar is the world’s richest per capita country, “is spending $260 billion building the stadiums, public transport systems, freeways, hotels and apartments to stage the tournament.”
Workers from Nepal and India are being employed under the kafala system which requires the workers to surrender their passports and to live in squalid housing conditions while working 10-13 hours per day in temperatures approaching 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The men are housed in hostels, where as many as 300 men are housed in 20 rooms. Not exactly livable conditions. These hostels sometimes have no electricity, running water or cooking facilities. Additionally, the men are not being paid on time or extra for their overtime, nor are they allowed to return to their home country even when a family member has died in a natural disaster, like the earthquake in Nepal.
Safety conditions in Qatar would not meet the OSHA standards in the USA, and even though the government denies that any workers have died on the multitude of projects underway in the country, organizations and home country governments say that as many as 400 workers have died in the process of these construction projects.
Perhaps during the investigations of the payoffs and scandals underway inside FIFA today, someone could take a closer look at the manner in which the workforce tasked to build these glamorous facilities are being treated, or maybe I should say, are being mistreated.
ArchDaily has a published site of each of the designs as well as the world-class architects responsible for designing them.