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Bayern, PSG and the FA implicated in continuing deaths of construction workers in Qatar

By Tony Attwood

By and large criticism of Fifa, like criticism of the FA, is limited England.  Fifa is outrageous, corrupt and disgraceful at every level and in every regard, and most people seem to recognise this, but the issue is put in a box, carefully kept aside from the fact that English players go and play in Fifa run competitions, which is somehow seen as separate and ok.

The FA funds Fifa, as does each country that is affiliated to Fifa.  The British government part funds the FA.  Taxpayers fund the government.  We’re all in this – the only difference is if I don’t pay my taxes I can be taken to court.  I don’t have the option of taking the FA to court.

As a result the FA is seen as terminally incompetent by the more serious media that investigates its escapades.  But none of this ever gets connected.

So where does this leave us?  It is said that Fifa is pushing for better working conditions in Qatar for the 2022 World Cup.   And yet this is clearly something that should have been sorted before the competition was awarded, and should have been subject to clauses which said that Fifa would withdraw the competition from Qatar unless key conditions were met.

The emirate itself has promised improvement and protective measures for the workers on construction sites. However, according to those who investigate such things not that much is happening.

In a report just published, Human Rights Watch (HRW) is now calling on Fifa and its member associations to promote “measures to protect the construction workers”.  It is rather late in the day, but still, better than nothing.  And just in case anyone thinks this is an argument about how long the lunch break should be, no, it is about “preventable deaths” and slave labour.

The latest report notes that the Supreme Committee running the building programme in Qatar has made progress, and the relationship between working time and rest periods has been improved in the past year in order to balance the stress caused by heat and moisture.

But it says that is not enough to prevent health risks and prevent deaths. Especially as these measures only apply to the working migrants working directly at the World Cup construction sites, which is to say around 12,000 people. And that represents only 1.5% of the 800,000 construction workers working in the Emirate as a whole.

In addition, a large number of other new buildings are going to be used deployed for World Cup related operations.  So if you see pictures of new hotels or new TV studios or new training facilities or new hotels you can be certain that these will have been built at the cost of lives.  Where ever journalists from the BBC and ITV stay, where ever players stay, they will be staying in places built at the cost of people’s lives.

According to Qatar, in 2016 there were 35 deaths in the workplace, which “resulted mostly from falls, presumably on construction sites”.  But information from embassies supplied in relation to migrant workers shows hundreds of deaths per year particularly in relation to workers from Bangladesh, India and Nepal.

Since there are no autopsies, it is difficult to determine specific causes of death. A study commissioned in 2014 had already shown that there are unusually high numbers of deaths from heart failure – “a general term that does not identify a cause of death”.

Meanwhile Qatar has failed to implement two key recommendations. On the one hand, Qatar had not reformed its laws to allow autopsies on “unexpected or sudden deaths”. In addition, the country “did not undertake an independent study on the apparently high number of deaths, which are vaguely defined as due to heart failure”.

In the case of World Cup projects, between October 2015 and July 2017, eight deaths were classified by Qatar as “non-work-related” using terms that obscure the underlying cause of death and make it impossible to determine whether they are related to working conditions such as heat stress.   The number of “non-work” deaths also refers only to those workers who work directly on the world cup construction sites.

Some of the Human Rights Watch staff involved in the report now say that Qatar does not properly deal with the system that keeps the relationship between work and rest times; and such data as there is would be more than enough in any western country to give rise to a legal case of “gross negligence” against the state, and have the project closed down.

Qatar have supplied some data concerning working conditions, which of course are hard to check.  But even if their figures are true, each worker has worked more than 700 hours (ie 90 full working days) in a year in conditions which are not suitable for work.

What Qatar does not have is any sort of legally binding requirement based on work levels in specific weather conditions.   As Human Rights Watch says, “Fifa and the football associations within it should make it clear that they are expecting changes to the law and practices.”

The report came out on the day when two  clubs sponsored by Qatar meet: Paris St. Germain and FC Bayern Munich.  Qatar Tourism Authority as we all know, pays for PSG.  But fewer people know that the airport of Qatar is a “platinum sponsor” of Bayern Munich, giving the club at the very least ten million euros per season.  FC Bayern does not give any concrete figures on this sponsorship – it could be an awful lot more.

Nicholas McGeehan, who worked on the latest Qatar report said, “FC Bayern was very clearly warned by Human Rights Watch in January 2016 about the potential impact of its relationship with Qatar.” He also said, “HRW has provided advice on the steps that the club could take to protect its reputation. Since then, the relationship with Qatar has deepened, but Bayern has continued to be silent about the abuse of workers.”

McGeehan also says the club is “in a very visible commercial relationship” with a government that disregards the lives of young men: “It would be appropriate for FC Bayern to use its influence on Qatar’s government and publicly demand immediate steps to live of the migrant workers in Qatar.

For myself, and of course this is just my view, every sponsor of the world cup, every organisation that pays money for the right to broadcast anything to do with the world cup, is in part guilty.  By extension anyone who supports the FA, which of course attempts to get England to each world cup finals, is also supportive of Qatar.  Of course if the FA came out and openly condemned Qatar’s approach to the value of human lives, that would help a bit.  But then, as they can’t even sort out who said and did what in relation to the England Women’s team, which is right on their doorstep, I’m not holding my breath on that one.

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5 comments to Bayern, PSG and the FA implicated in continuing deaths of construction workers in Qatar

  • Donald swan

    A very well written atricle , something more needs to be done!

    D.swan ( aussiegooner )

  • para

    Modern Slavery at it’s inception, and it will not be challenged as all are complicit, even the “challenger” even probably an arm of those responsible is agitating for favourable public approval on behalf of them.

    The world is so fully in the grip of the parasites that any illusion of change is just that, illusory, and designed to keep the people from a full revolution, which will, although not destroy, harm the parasites where it counts, monetary.

    Until this shitstem(P.Tosh) is completely destroyed there will be no change.

    Don’t even mention hope, another of those “mantras” to keep people docile.

  • Reality Check

    Sadly HRW are not exactly a credible Human Rights org as has been clear for years. They are a political movement with an open agenda. Their publications “reflect the absence of professional standards, research methodologies, and military and legal expertise”. Their reports are mostly based on hearsay and opinion or stolen from other discredited reports. I have read the same reports they take their information from and more often than not it is nothing more than propaganda.

    To be clear I am not denying what is going on in Qatar but HRW is just as corrupt as the nations it condemns if not more.

    Natan Sharansky, former Soviet Refusenik, created HRW under the name Helsinki Watch in late 1970’s to defend Soviet political prisoners such as himself. He states the HRW has become “a tool in the hands of dictatorial regimes to fight against democracies.” Another founder Robert Bernstein has the same contempt for HRW today.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/opinion/20bernstein.html?_r=0

    ANOTHER ORG FUNDED HEAVILY BY GEORGE SOROS. Another sign of political involvement. Also Open Society, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and Ford Foundation.The usual suspects.

    Their leaders include Jew-haters comparing Zionism to White Supremacy, supporting terrorism against Jews and Israelis, Nazi obsession, they are a major proponent of the BDS movement which calls for the destruction of Israel and more often than not supports terrorism. They were part of the antisemitic Durban Conference. They work closely with the fascist human rights council run by dictators. They meet with Terrorist organizations, have openly supported their rights, and use their propaganda in their reports. HRW is notorious for ignoring antisemitism especially in the Arab/Muslim world and alongside has ignored the genocide against Christians in the region for too long.

    Interestingly enough seems to be mostly funded by the Netherlands and other western nations.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Human_Rights_Watch

    http://tundratabloids.com/category/hrw/

    So not exactly a credible organization on the subject matter or any other. Especially with their relationship with Saudi Arabia.

    Having the Cup in Qatar in the winter/heat no alcohol i think and slavery.
    Qatar is still funding and supporting terrorism.
    Qatar is still funding Islamic hate education in various Western nations on a grand scale.
    Al Jazera spreads Islamic Extremist propaganda globally including hatred towards the infidel.

    When will the free world stand up for the values it claims to hold dear?

  • Gord

    OT: Corruption News

    Eight people in France to be tried for corruption. This apparently dates back 3 years to a Ligue 2 game between Caen and Nimes?

    http://www.getfootballnewsfrance.com/2017/8-individuals-to-be-put-in-front-of-a-judge-for-football-match-fixing-including-caen-president-fortin/

  • Reality Check, I do acknowledge that Human Rights Watch has been criticised very heavily, but I do want to register that I think there is a problem with some of the commentary against it, in that some criticism of it says that it notes human rights abuses in some parts of the world and not others. I would agree with that, but that issue, to my mind (and as always it is just me) does not negate the work it does in highlighting human rights abuses in other areas.
    However I would say, we’ve both made our points, and I don’t think there is any value on a football site of going further. Anyone who has read the article, and your reply will know there are two sides and through your commentary has access to links which criticise HRW and I think that is enough. Whenever I have let these debates run on one particular group has seized upon it to push their views and attack others, and it becomes tedious. So I want to leave it with each side having its say.

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