British worker latest Qatar World Cup stadium construction fatality

British worker latest Qatar World Cup stadium construction fatality
A British man has died while working on the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadium, putting the Gulf state's treatment of migrant workers into the spotlight once more.
2 min read
20 January, 2017
Qatar has come under sharp scrutiny for its treatment of migrant workers [Getty]

A British man has died working at the World Cup stadium building site in Qatar, where construction conditions have come under sharp scrutiny since the country was awarded the 2022 football tournament.

World Cup organisers did not name the 40-year-old man or provide any details of the incident, saying only that he "lost his life working" on Thursday at the Khalifa International Stadium, which will also host the world track championships in 2019.

"The relevant authorities have been notified and the next of kin has been informed," Qatari World Cup organisers said in a statement.

"An immediate investigation into the cause of this fatality is underway and further details will be released in due course. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy shares our deepest condolences with the family for their loss."

Qatar is spending billions of dollars on massive infrastructure projects to prepare for hosting the World Cup in 2022 and has imported hundreds of thousands of construction workers from countries such as India, Nepal and Bangladesh for building projects.

Organisers are also relying on expertise from Europeans to oversee projects.

The number of foreign workers is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2020.

Qatar has previously announced the death of four stadium workers, with one fatality the result of a work-related accident. However there are thought to be hundreds of migrant worker deaths each year of those not working on World Cup facilities.

Last year, Amnesty International reported on abuses against foreign workers during preparations for the World Cup.

Those interviewed reported some kind of abuse, including crowded living quarters, salary payments being withheld for months, and measures including passport confiscation that make it difficult to leave the country.

But Doha has fought back against the allegations, responding with a series of reforms aimed at improving working practices and employee safety.

In December, Qatari officials introduced a new contract-based system for foreign workers, replacing the controversial Kafala system, which it says will give more protection to workers and safeguard their rights.

The project to renovate the stadium, the home of the national football team, is being supervised by Belgium company Besix in partnership with local company Midmac Contracting. There was no immediate comment from Besix, reported Associated Press.