Tournament director Hassan al-Thawadi has given a new official estimate of the total number of migrants who died between 2010 and 2022 in Qatar.
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar has raised numerous criticisms and calls for a boycott, particularly in Europe, because of the ecological, financial and human costs linked to the organization of this competition in this rich gas emirate in the Gulf. In February 2021, the British newspaper The Guardianpublished an investigation revealing that 6,500 migrants (Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Bangladeshis., Nepalese..) died while building infrastructure and football stadiums for this World Cup since 2010.
For its part, Doha has always refuted these figures, putting forward much lower official figures of 37 migrant deaths in Qatar between 2010 and 2022, all causes of mortality combined. However, in an interview given on November 28 to the British presenter Piers Morgan, the director of the organization of the world, Hassan al-Thawadi, mentioned a figure higher than the previous official figures since “400 to 500 migrants are believed to have died in totalin Qatar according to him over this period.
In reality, Hassan al-Thawadi maintains the official position of Qatar, but the nuance. It distinguishes between migrant deaths during the construction of stadiums and migrants who died during the construction of other infrastructure. According to him, three migrants died while building the football stadiums. Thirty-seven migrants, also working on the stadium sites, are also said to have died, but outside their working hours. “We have always been transparent about it“, he said, before adding that the figures of “400 or 500 immigrants» deaths corresponded to the total number of deaths for the construction of all the infrastructures (hotels, roads, restaurants, etc.) necessary to host the World Cup.
On the criticism leveled at Qatar, he singled out the critics “constructive“which would have allowed his country”to dialogue and improve by discussing with partnersand criticisms based on thedisinformation“, which would not have advanced anything despite “the dialogue requests we have made».
Qatar is “very proud” to host this World Cup
Beyond these revelations, Hassan al-Thawadi answered other more general questions about the current progress of the World Cup. He said Qatar was “very proud to host this World Cup». «QWhen you watch the people on the streets from all over the world and the spectacle on the football pitches, it’s phenomenal. This is the first World Cup held in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia’s victory over Argentina and Morocco’s victory over Belgium were incredible for everyone here», he completed.
According to the tournament director, between 2010 and 2022, Qatar has evolved its labor law in partnership with German and Swiss trade unions to improve health and safety standards for migrant workers. “I think the need for reforms was necessary. These reforms were not made just because we had to organize the World Cup, they are progress that we had to make before we even got the World Cup in 2010“, he specified, adding that the world is a”catalyst that has accelerated these reforms».
Asked about players wanting to wear an LGBT support armband during matches, Hassan al-Thawadi said that these types of mobilization “bothered him because they are directed against Qatar, even if on the other hand it did not bother him that Europeans do this type of action in Europe“, then specifying that”everyone could come with their culture to Qatar to exchange with all cultures during the world with mutual respect“. According to him, “homosexuals are welcome like everyone else in Qatar to visit the country as well as to live there“, most “public displayis not part of the country’s culture.
Hassan al-Thawadi justified this position by opposing Western values which would be first “focused on individual rights” and the values of the Arab world and the Middle East which would be first “focused on religious values“. From his point of view, despite this “oppositionof values, this World Cup proves thatwe can find a way to coexist».