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16 Nov 2023

Qatar 2022: Ex-Stark Security guards allegedly detained & deported following protests over terminations, wage theft & lack of accommodation; incl. FIFA response

In January 2023, one month after the conclusion of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, The Telegraph reported workers employed by World Cup contractor Stark Security Services via Festival Global were facing deportation following protests over living and working conditions. The workers were reportedly sacked before the end of their short-term, six month contracts working as guards at FIFA's media hub for the tournament, the Qatar National Convention Centre.

The protest of 400 workers followed a long-running dispute including 1,000 workers being left without salary, bonuses and accommodation. Workers were also reportedly asked to sign a declaration that they are no longer owed wages after receiving a small compensation fee.

Stark Security, Festival Global and World Cup organisers the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy did not respond to request for comment. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited FIFA to respond to the allegations; their response can be read in full below.

In May, The Telegraph reported that three migrant workers remained in detention following the protests. Owing to the opacity of the Qatari court system the paper could not verify what the men were charged with or whether they had received convictions.

In October 2023, Josimar reported two of the migrant workers remain trapped in Qatar in a shelter. Allegedly after countless appearances in labour court, they were unexpectedly awarded 21,000 riyals (5,441 euro) and 26,000 riyals (6736 euro) in compensation, to be settled by their sponsors, but have yet to receive the compensation owed to them. FIFA responded to the article. Estithmar did not reply to the journalist's request for comment.

In November 2023, The Guardian reported another worker was freed in November, but another Pakistani worker remains in Qatar, is struggling to renew his documents and therefore cannot work. He states he often does not eat for one to days as he has no money. Another teenage worker from Gambia, employed also by Stark Security, who was left jobless and homeless days before the final, also remains in Qatar after his sponsor appealed a court judgement awarding him 12,000 rials to cover unpaid wages and his flight home. Fifa did not respond to the journalist's request for comment.