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21 Sep 2022

Pete Pattisson, The Guardian (UK)

World Cup hotel shields England team from fans – and Qatar’s labour abuses

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"World Cup hotel shields England team from fans - and Qatar's labour abuses," 21 Sep 2022

Far from the glittering towers of Doha, off a road lined with scruffy fast-food outlets and down a narrow, bumpy lane that leads to a beach, stands the hotel that will host England at the World Cup...

... the staff appear excited at the prospect of hosting top footballers...

However, while the England team may be able to escape the frenzy of fans in their beach-side hideaway, they will not be able to avoid the shadow of labour abuses that will fall on this World Cup...

In the souk outside and along the beachfront promenade, security guards from places including Kenya, Nepal and Pakistan endure 12-hour shifts for just over £1 an hour. They say they work 30 days a month. “If I take a day off, they cut my salary,” says one.

They say they have all been forced to pay extortionate fees – of up to £1,360 – to agents in their home countries to secure their jobs, meaning they have to work for months just to repay the costs...

“The company will not give us permission to leave. They tell us we have to cancel our visas, go home and then apply for another job,” says one.