FIFA’s executive committee has met in Zurich, Switzerland to discuss whether to move the 2022 World Cup to the winter, so that footballers can avoid playing in Qatar’s scorching summer heat.
But the scheduling issue was overshadowed by concerns that the migrant workers building the infrastructure in the run-up to the event are being subjected to abusive labor conditions, verging on what one report called "modern-day slavery."
Nepalis comprise one of the biggest groups of blue-collar workers in Qatar. Drawn by plentiful jobs in the state, especially in the booming construction sector, about 400,000 Nepalis work in Qatar today — making up 20 percent of Qatar’s roughly 2 million people. On a per-capita basis, more Nepalis probably live in Qatar than any other country aside from Nepal itself.
But an article published last week in British newspaper the Guardian stated that dozens of Nepalese workers in Qatar died there this summer, and that thousands more toil under abusive conditions — reporting instances of employers confiscating workers’ passports and denying laborers access to free drinking water.
Photo: (Karim Jaafar/AFP)