The buzz around the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar continues. The coronavirus is rampant among workers building football stadiums, but Fifa is not reacting in any way.
President of the International Football Association Gianni Infantinon word choices for future World Cup host Qatar attracted attention. The Fifa boss praised the framework for the 2022 Games, but the country’s coronary virus situation and the plight of workers were completely ignored.
Infantino, 50, visited Qatar last week to learn about the country’s World Cup preparations. No money has been saved on the construction of new stadiums.
Enthusiastic Infantino especially praised Al Bayt Stadium, which hosted the opening match of the tournament. 60,000 people in its auditoriums The attractive building is an architectural masterpiece inspired by Qatari culture.
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Of the eight stadiums used in the Games, three are already ready, three are in the final stages.
Infantino praised the race hosts ’ability to continue construction, even though the world has been almost at a standstill for more than six months due to the coronavirus.
The controversy has been sparked by what Infantino did not say.
Poor working conditions
The Qatar World Cup has been overshadowed for years by the harsh treatment of migrant workers. Several human rights organizations have reported that the conditions of workers building stadiums are deplorable in places. Major shortcomings and abuses have been found in, for example, occupational safety, wages and working hours.
In the harshest accusations, Qatar has been found to be building the World Cup with slave labor. Human rights organizations have called for the World Cup to be canceled or boycotted, but this has not led to a major popular movement.
During his visit, Infantino did not say a word that Fifa would require the race hosts to improve the conditions of the employees.
Qatar fears for the World Cup
Qatar has also been in the headlines recently for the coronavirus as well.
In August, Qatar momentarily rose to become the country with the highest rate of coronavirus deaths in the world in proportion to its population. The spike was quickly followed by a decline in low death rates, raising suspicions about the blackout of official data.
According to a study by the British consultancy Cornerstone Global Associates, the figures reported by Qatar are not in line with actual mortality. The suspicion is that the state is distorting the figures so that the World Cup is not taken out of the country.
Qatar has an official population of about 2.7 million, but the majority of this is foreign workers. The miserable position of foreign workers in society puts them at risk of coronavirus due to, for example, poor living conditions and hygiene.
Fox News reports that Qatar is hiding its true coronavirus figures because it fears they will postpone or even deprive it of World Cup rights. With the help of the football festival, the country could whitewash its reputation in the eyes of the international community.
During his visit, Infantino did not comment at all on the coronavirus situation in the country.
The Qatar World Cup is scheduled to play in late 2022.