No workers have died on World Cup projects, says Qatar

Tue May 13, 2014 12:13pm EDT
 
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By Mike Collett

SWEIMEH Jordan (Reuters) - No construction workers have been killed working on a 2022 World Cup project site, Nasser Al Khater, the media and marketing director of the Qatar organizing committee, said on Tuesday.

Reports of the deaths of immigrant workers in the Gulf State have made global headlines for the last year since a report in Britain's Guardian newspaper, but Al Khater, delivering an update on progress for the finals in eight years' time, sought to put the figures into perspective.

Speaking to delegates at the Soccerex Asian Forum by the banks of the Dead Sea, Al Khater addressed the issues of workers rights under the kafala (tied employment) system used in the country.

"Contrary to what the international media says there has not been a single injury or death on the World Cup projects," he said.

"It's not possible to have 400 deaths when you are still digging a hole in the ground so I would like to make sure this matter is put to rest.

"However, we have taken the issue of workers welfare very seriously and made sure that the highest standards in terms of workers welfare are stated in all our contracts.

"We have always said the World Cup is a catalyst for change and we welcome the spotlight this issue has brought."

Hundreds of construction workers have died in Qatar on non-World Cup projects, but moves are underway to implement major safety changes throughout the country's construction industry.   Continued...