Qatar has been accused of abusing more than 100 migrant workers as the country prepares to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and builds stadiums, according to a 51-page report titled “The Ugly Side of the Beautiful Game” by Amnesty International.
Amnesty International reports that some of the people working on the Khalifa International Stadium were lied to about salaries and went unpaid for months while also being housed in poor living conditions. The Aspire Zone, which hosted a game between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, was also criticized.
The report interviewed 234 men, mostly from Bangladesh, India and Nepal and found that 228 of them claimed to receive wages lower than promised and had to pay a tax in order to enter the country. Some workers also had their passports taken away and were not allowed to leave Qatar.
“When I first complained...the manager said ‘If you complain, you can, but there will be consequences,” one worker told Amnesty International. “‘If you want to stay in Qatar be quiet and keep working.’”
Qatar responded by saying that claims by Amnesty International were misleading and only looked into four of the 40 companies that are working on Khalifa Stadium. The venue is also being worked on for the 2019 track and field world championships.
FIFA issued the following statement:
“This is an ongoing process. Challenges remain, but FIFA is confident that the structures and processes set-up so far by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is the entity responsible for the delivery of FIFA World Cup infrastructure, provide a good basis to monitor labor rights of migrant workers.”
Qatar employs 5,100 workers on its World Cup sites at the moment but the number is expected to climb to 36,000 by 2018, according to Amnesty International.