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Should building workers & football fans in Britain boycott FIFA World Cup?

  • 2 Jun 2015

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BLOG from Howard Chapman, Editor of Buildingtalk

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Workers deaths constructing world sporting events

Red card for FIFA & Qatar as corruption plus workers deaths building the 2022 World Cup venue leads to calls for a boycott by sponsors & football fans.

The corruption rife in FIFA is no shock to anyone. However, the bigger scandal is the death toll among Qatars 2022 World Cup construction workers. Qatars World Cup slaves was the headline of a Guardian report 2 years ago on the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers in the £39billion building bonanza preparing Qatar for 2022. This included the warning that the construction frenzy will cost the lives of at least 4,000 migrant workers before a ball is kicked in 2022, according to International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) report [link above to full report]. Compare this to just one death during the building of the London Olympics.

Despite Qatars promised to improve conditions, building workers deaths continue. Nepalese migrants died at a rate of one every two days in 2014, and deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers takes the total to a death a day as a minimum figure.

A team of British trade union leaders and MPs warned that the 2022 tournament is being built on the blood and misery of an army of slave labour, after uncovering appalling abuse during a visit to the Gulf monarchy. A recent Times of India video, they reported on this modern day slavery and the 441 workers from India & Nepal died who in Qatar last year.

Last week the BBC reported that working and housing conditions of the 1.5 million migrant workers constructing buildings in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup are still aweful. The Gulf state has made little progress on improving migrant workers rights, despite promises to do so, according to the rights group Amnesty International and there was a call that Fifa World Cup sponsors must act over Qatar. The issue hit the headlines again when a BBC reporter was detained for endeavouring to see labour and living conditions first-hand.

FIFA World Cup football is a matter of life & death for building workers in Qatar. Though Bill Shankly once famously quipped that football was more important. However, I think building workers and football fans in Britain are appalled at the cost in human lives.

They should make their voices heard and boycott the FIFA World Cup.

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