Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Inside World Cup's Death Trap

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Inside World Cup's Death Trap

Article excerpt

Byline: Rory Tingle Reporter

SPORTING the colours of Newcastle United and other football clubs, these are just some of the work ers risking their lives for the beautiful game.

Thousands of people will die building the stadi ums and infrastructure for Qatar's World Cup before the first ball is kicked.

That is the stark mes sage from North East MP Ian Lavery, who visited the Gulf state to inspect the camp's housing migrant workers preparing for the global football tourna ment in 2022.

He described men being held in "modern day slav ery" and unable to return to their home countries until they had worked for years on pitiful wages.

They were housed in "what can only be described as prison camps", said the Labour MP, with as many as 10 people crammed into rooms meant for four in 50 degree heat.

Under current predic tions from the Interna tional Trade Union Con federation (ITUC), a staggering 7,000 workers will die before the tourna ment even begins.

Mr Lavery, the MP for Wansbeck, visited the Al Khor labour camp, north of the capital Doha, on an undercover trip with a del egation that included Unite leader Len McClus key.

He spoke to workers about their terms and conditions, and presented one with a Newcastle United shirt.

The men, mainly from South Asia, described the abuse they were suffering under the "Kafala" system, which is used to monitor migrant labourers.

Mr Lavery said: "It is a form of modern day slav ery. The individuals are picked up by an agency in their country of origin and promised the world.

"They then sign agreements and pay a huge amount of money to the agent, which usu ally runs to thou sands of dollars. But, when they arrive in Qatar, a new cont ract is written that gives a lot less than what was promised.

"Their passport is taken from them and they barely have the wages to live on, let alone pay off the agent's fees or send money to their family."

Qatar is the world's rich est country per head, thanks to its vast supply of oil and natural gas.

But Mr Lavery described the conditions in the labour camps as "terrible", saying they are not even fit for wild animals let alone humans. …

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