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Press Release

17 Nov 2022

Qatar World Cup: The human cost of the Group Stage fixtures

The below data is based on publicly reported allegations of labour abuse against migrants by businesses (July 2014 - November 2022). Where companies are named, they were given the opportunity to respond to the allegations; full responses from companies are available on our website.

Since 2014, we have tracked 60 cases of alleged abuse associated with World Cup projects – stadiums and training sites – including 46 cases where workers named stadiums they had worked on. 15 cases of abuse were reported at unnamed Qatar World Cup training sites and stadiums between November 2018 and November 2022.

Read our methodology and a discussion of the challenges and limitations of this data collection.

Al Bayt

Linked to 15 cases of reported worker abuse between June 2019 and November 2022

Who is playing at Al Bayt?

  • Qatar vs Ecuador, 20 Nov
  • Morocco vs. Croatia, 23 Nov
  • England vs USA, 25 Nov
  • Spain vs. Germany, 27 Nov
  • Netherlands vs. Qatar, 29 Nov
  • Costa Rica vs. Germany, 1 Dec
  • Round of 16, 4 Dec
  • Quarterfinal, 9 Dec
  • Semifinal, Dec 14

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 14 of the 15 cases.
  • Arbitrary denial of freedoms of expression were reported in 7 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations were reported in 10 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 6 cases.
  • Verbal or physical abuse was reported in 7 cases.
  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in most 12 cases; security workers were impacted in 2 cases.

Experiences on the ground:

  • Contractors were named in 14 of the 15 cases, sometimes repeatedly; Galfar al Misnad, Al Sulaiteen and Bin Omran Trading and Contracting were each named in two cases of abuse.
  • In June 2019, following an undercover investigation by German broadcaster WDR, FIFA confirmed 23 workers of a stadium subcontractor, TAWASOL, had not been paid their wages. See what follow-up action was taken here.
  • In June 2020, an Amnesty investigation revealed around 100 workers at Qatar Meta Coats had not been paid for up to seven months, despite registering complaints with labour authorities, mediation with QMC and an investigation by the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy.
  • In November 2022, NGO Equidem released a report documenting 10 companies deployed workers at Al Bayt who reported abuses ranging from violations of health and safety to contract substitutions, restrictions to freedom of expression and movement, nationality discrimination, poor housing and wage theft.

Lusail

Linked to 12 cases of reported worker abuse between March 2014 and November 2022.

*Updated (24 November 2022): This figure previously included two allegations at Lusail City. This page was updated to reflect allegations only linked to Lusail Stadium (up until 17 November 2022).

Who is playing at Lusail?

  • Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia, 22 Nov
  • Brasil vs. Serbia, 24 Nov
  • Argentina vs. Mexico, 26 Nov
  • Portugal vs. Uruguay, 28 Nov
  • Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico, 30 Nov
  • Cameroon vs. Brasil, 2 Dec
  • Round of 16, 6 Dec
  • Quarterfinal, 9 Dec
  • Final, 18 Dec

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 12 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 8 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations were reported in 5 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 5 cases.
  • Verbal or physical abuse was reported in 7 cases.
  • Payment of recruitment fees was reported in 5 cases.
  • Wage theft was reported in 8 cases.
  • Passports were withheld by one of the security companies.
  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in 10 cases; security guards were impacted in the remaining 2.

Experiences on the ground:

  • In April 2022, Amnesty International reported on conditions for workers at an unnamed company contracted to provide security guards across multiple World Cup sites, including all 8 stadiums and two more FIFA tournaments – the 2020 FIFA Club World Cup and 2021 FIFA Arab Cup; the Supreme Committee discovered withheld passports and excessive working hours.
  • In three cases detailed by NGO Equidem in November 2022, IMAR and two of its subcontractors, Land Worx and Al Jaber Trading & Contracting faced allegations of labour abuse.

Al Janoub

Linked to 12 cases of reported worker abuse between July 2014 and November 2022.

Who is playing at Al Janoub?

  • France vs. Australia, 22 Nov
  • Switzerland vs. Cameroon, 24 Nov
  • Tunisia vs. Australia, 26 Nov
  • Cameroon vs. Serbia, 28 Nov
  • Australia vs. Denmark, 30 Nov
  • Ghana vs. Uruguay, 2 Dec
  • Round of 16, 5 Dec

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 9 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 7 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations were reported in 8 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 6 cases.
  • Construction workers were impacted in 6 cases.
  • Workers reportedly died in 2 cases: in 2016, a 29 year old Nepali died when he was struck by a water tanker; in 2018, witnesses told the Guardian of the death of a second Nepali worker who fell from a walkway.

Experiences on the ground:

  • 8 cases of labour abuse were recorded in the final year countdown to the World Cup, including at Al Sulaiteen Agricultural and Industrial Complex, which has faced two allegations of abuse of workers at Al Janoub in the space of the last two months. In September 2022, all interviewed workers had paid fees to obtain employment and none had been reimbursed, despite the Supreme Committee stating SAIC participated in its Universal Reimbursement Scheme.
  • In another case, Amnesty International revealed World Cup contractor Mercury MENA (now dissolved) left workers unpaid for months. The wage delays started in 2016; but only in 2020 was it reported that workers who had returned home without owed dues at the time would finally be paid.

Ahmad Bin Ali

Linked to 9 cases of reported worker abuse between November 2018 and November 2022.

Who is playing at Ahmad Bin Ali?

  • USA vs. Wales, 21 Nov
  • Belgium vs. Canada, 23 Nov
  • Wales vs. Iran, 25 Nov
  • Japan vs. Costa Rica, 27 Nov
  • Wales vs. England, 29 Nov
  • Croatia vs. Belgium, 1 Dec
  • Round of 16, 3 Dec

What the data says:

  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in 5 cases.
  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in all 9 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 5 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations were reported in 5 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 4 cases.
  • Verbal or physical abuse was reported in 5 cases.
  • Wage theft or poverty wages was reported in 8 cases.
  • Payment of recruitment fees was reported in 4 cases.

Experiences on the ground:

  • In 2021, workers at Mienhardt Bim Studio, a subcontractor on various high-profile projects, told NGO Migrant-Rights.org 80 current and former employees were owed wages and end-of-service benefits. Workers were reportedly accused of underperforming when they asked for their dues.
  • In November 2022, NGO Equidem named 4 contractors on Ahmad Bin Ali in allegations of labour abuse of migrant workers: Gulf Contracting Co., Larsen & Toubro, Al Sraiya Security Services and Advanced Construction Technology Services.

Khalifa International

Linked to 9 cases of reported worker abuse between March 2016 and November 2022. 

Who is playing at Khalifa International?

  • England vs. Iran, 21 Nov
  • Germany vs. Japan, 23 Nov
  • Netherlands vs. Ecuador, 25 Nov
  • Croatia vs. Canada, 27 Nov
  • Ecuador vs, Senegal, 29 Nov
  • Japan vs. Spain, 1 Dec
  • Round of 16, 3 Dec
  • 3rd place, 17 Dec

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 8 out of 9 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 7 out of 9 cases.
  • Verbal or physical abuse was reported in 6 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 5 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations were reported in 4 cases.
  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in 6 cases.

Experiences on the ground:

  • Khalifa International was one of the first World Cup projects to be highly scrutinised; Amnesty International’s 2016 report into conditions for workers at Khalifa uncovered the network of business relationships involved in the project and how layers of sub-contracting aggravated risk of labour exploitation for workers.
  • The Aspire Zone, surrounding Khalifa, has also been associated with additional allegations of worker abuse. In 2016, workers for Nakheel Landscapes building the project paid large recruitment fees, were paid lower than promised, had their passports withheld and were denied permission to leave Qatar. In 2022, interviews with workers at Al Bateel Securicor found security guards had also been charged fees, had their passports confiscated, were paid very low wages and threatened in response to a worker who complained about treatment.
  • Multiple multinationals construction giants have received tenders for work on Khalifa and been linked to allegations of abuse, including Italian WeBuild, German Pfeifer, Malaysian Eversendai and Belgian Besix.

Education City

Linked to 7 cases of reported worker abuse between August 2018 and November 2022.

Who is playing at Education City?

  • Denmark vs. Tunisia, 22 Nov
  • Uruguay vs. South Korea, 24 Nov
  • Poland vs. Saudi Arabia, 26 Nov
  • South Korea vs. Ghana, 28 Nov
  • Tunisia vs. France, 30 Nov
  • South Korea vs. Portugal, 2 Dec
  • Round of 16, 6 Dec
  • Quarter Finals, 9 Dec

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 6 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 5 cases.
  • Inhumane or precarious living conditions were reported in 4 cases.
  • Wage theft was reported in 4 cases.
  • Workers’ passports being withheld was reported in 3 cases.
  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in 4 cases.

Experiences on the ground:

  • In 2022, Amnesty International released a report into conditions for security workers in Qatar; one worker deployed to Education City reported a number of issues including cramped accommodation, withheld passports, excessive working hours and wage theft.
  • Detailed in November 2022 by NGO Equidem, workers at Advanced Construction Technology Services reported a range of severe labour abuses including dismissal for speaking out abuse, intimidation in the workplace, psychological stress in the workplace, payment of recruitment fees and wage theft.

Al Thumama

Linked to 6 cases of reported worker abuse between August 2019 and November 2022.

Who is playing at Al Thumama?

  • Senegal vs. Netherlands, 21 Nov
  • Spain vs. Costa Rica, 23 Nov
  • Qatar vs. Senegal, 25 Nov
  • Belgium vs. Morocco, 27 Nov
  • Iran vs. USA, 29 Nov
  • Canada vs. Morocco, 1 Dec
  • Round of 16, 4 Dec
  • Quarterfinal, 10 Dec

What the data says:

  • Violations of employment conditions were reported in 5 cases.
  • Restrictions on workers’ fundamental freedoms were reported in 4 cases.
  • Occupational health and safety violations, inhumane or precarious housing, and verbal or physical abuse were reported in 3 cases.
  • Wage theft was reported in 4 cases and payment of recruitment fees was reported in 1 case.
  • Construction and engineering workers were impacted in 5 cases.

Experiences on the ground:

  • An investigation by the Times in 2021 into chronic kidney disease and high incidence of dialysis treatment among Gulf returnees reported on a worker deployed to Al Thumama in breach of working standards who was given insufficient breaks and drinking water. The worker was 24 years old and dependent on dialysis, with a high risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • In 2019, up to 900 migrant workers at construction companies Iskan and Tashgheel protested five months of non-payment of wages. Then communications deputy director, Abdullah Ibhais, is facing a jail sentence of 5 years in retaliation for whistleblowing when and criticism of the World Cup organisers’ handling of the strike.

Stadium 974

Linked to 3 cases of worker abuse reported between April and November 2022.

Which teams are playing at 974?

  • Mexico vs. Poland, 22 Nov
  • Portugal vs. Ghana, 24 Nov
  • France vs. Denmark, 26 Nov
  • Brasil vs. Switzerland, 28 Nov
  • Poland vs Argentina, 30 Nov
  • Serbia vs. Switzerland, 2 Dec
  • Round of 16, 5 Dec

What the data says:

  • Payment of recruitment fees was reported in all 3 allegations of abuse. One Kenyan worker reported he had to pay the equivalent of USD900 to secure their job.
  • Security workers were impacted in 2 cases; construction workers were impacted in 1 case.

Experiences on the ground:

  • In 2022, Nepali workers reported that their employer misused short-term visas to get them into the country and offering a two-year contract only to be sent before their contracts end.
  • In November 2022, Kenyan workers employed by Regency Security Services at 974 told NGO Equidem they had paid over USD1,000 in recruitment fees to pay for visas, commission, references, COVID-tests and medical checks.

Infographics

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More resources on the Qatar World Cup

Qatar World Cup Parallel Portal

Mapping the businesses involved in the World Cup – from the construction companies that built the infrastructure to the hotels and leisure facilities that will host fans, and sponsors and partners providing services to the tournament – and tracking allegations of human rights abuse.

FIFA & Qatar World Cup 2022 sponsors

Association with the world’s greatest sporting event is lucrative and has attracted high-profile international brands. We have been tracking sponsors' actions and engagement with human rights in the run-up to kick-off.

Football associations

National football associations will play the central role at the Qatar 2022 World Cup and consequently have considerable power and influence to affect change in the country.