Qatar 2022 World Cup risks 4000 lives, warns International Trade Union Confederation

The International Trade Union Confederation has warned up to 4000 lives are at risk before a ball is kicked at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Current mortality figures for workers from Nepal and India alone who account for the bulk of the current 1.2 million migrant workers in the country show that on average 400 workers die each year.

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation, said Qatar has said that between 500,000 and one million additional workers from Nepal, India and other South Asian and African countries will be required for World Cup infrastructure – this is a workforce increase of more than 50%, and if there is no reform, we would expect a similar percentage increase in fatalities.

“More than 4000 workers risk losing their life over the next seven years as construction for World Cup facilities gets under way if no action is taken to give migrant workers’ rights. The annual death toll among those working on building sites could rise to 600 a year – almost a dozen a week – unless the Doha government makes urgent reforms,” said Sharan Burrow.

Fatal construction work injuries in Qatar are eight times higher than in other rich countries.

“Despite more than two years dialogue with FIFA and Qatar, no substantive steps have been taken to guarantee the fundamental rights of workers enshrined in international law.

“The solutions have been put on the table to recognise workers’ rights, build effective and efficient dispute mechanisms and end the kafala sponsorship system that enslaves workers.

“The Government of Qatar needs to take responsibility for the migrant workers in the country – firstly by working with responsible recruitment companies to ensure ethical recruitment of workers with a particular focus on World Cup construction and services.
“The international community can offer support and technical assistance for the development of effective labour compliance procedures. The length of times it takes workers to have their cases heard in courts prevents justice being served,” said Sharan Burrow.

Qatar does not collect or publish statistics relating to death and injuries of migrant workers. Home countries of migrant workers do collect this data and the ITUC monitors and analyses the numbers of workers dying in Qatar from published reports.
The ITUC represents 178 million workers in 156 countries. Football fans are being encouraged to tell FIFA to rerun the vote at to choose a World Cup venue where workers’ rights are respected.

Notes for Editors:

“119 Nepali workers died in nine months”

Record number of Nepalese construction workers died in July 2014 Source

"83 Indians died in Qatar in first five months of this year (January to June 2013). The death figures in the Indian community for 2010, 2011 and 2012 were 233, 239 and 237, respectively.”


Qatar construction fatality rate are eight times higher than the UK and other rich countries


Video Resources:

Abedes Ouaddou (French/Moroccan footballer) – A World Cup of Shame

Chirari Mahato – A Nepalese worker who died in Qatar

The ITUC video report on migrant worker misery behind gleaming boom of Gulf - Doha (Qatar) & Dubai (UAE)