The country in question is Qatar, a tiny country located on the Arabian Peninsula known for its natural gas and oil reserves, and for having one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. So it’s no surprise that for the games, Qatar will boast a state-of-the-art, fully refurbished soccer stadium.
Yet behind the scenes, Amnesty International has found a very ugly picture.
The stadium is being built by migrant workers who were looking to escape poverty and unemployment in countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Recruiters in their home countries promised them a job in Qatar if the hopeful workers paid a fee of anywhere from $500 to $4,300. The heavy charge left many of the workers in debt.
Recruiters promised workers that once in Qatar, they would be making $300 a month so that they could pay back the initial recruitment fee. Unfortunately, the vast majority of of this has turned out to be lies.
Workers’ salaries have often been delayed for months at a time, leaving them unable to buy food, send money home to their families, or pay back their debt from the recruitment fees. When workers are paid, they are reported to receive $190 – significantly less than what many were promised.
Mushfiqur, a man working working as a gardener at the Khalifa Stadium site, told Amnesty International, “My manager just said, ‘I don’t care what they said in Bangladesh. We are giving you this salary and nothing more.”
The workers’ living conditions are filthy, cramped, and appalling. The company did not provide them with residence permits that show they are allowed to live and work in Qatar. Without these permits, workers could be imprisoned or fined, which means they cannot leave the stadium site.
Going back home is not an option either. Workers had their passports confiscated by employers as soon as they arrived, and have not seen them since.
If you aren’t already convinced Qatar should be banned from hosting the World Cup, listen to the country’s mindset on women. Qatar’s government is open with its thoughts on the role of women. The country’s Law No. 22 declares that marital rape is not illegal and that a woman’s responsibility in society is to look over the household and obey her husband.
Female soccer fans are wondering if they will be included in tournament festivities and be allowed to spectate like any other type of fan. Residents of Doha, the city where the tournament will take place, say that this World Cup will be different than ones in the past. They warned that excited fans will not be able to drink and celebrate the way that they are used to.
The World Cup is supposed to be an event centered around celebration, but there is nothing to be celebrated with this dire situation in Qatar. There are several petitions online calling for FIFA to revoke Qatar’s World Cup rights. A country allowing such blatant mistreatment of workers and with such discriminatory laws towards women should not be able to hold an international athletic championship.
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