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Sunday, May 31, 2015

FIFA's Corruption Also Has A Human Cost


Following the arrest of senior officials accused of “rampant” corruption, some of FIFA’s key sponsors have threatened to reassess their relationship with the organization. Allegations of bribery amounting to over $100 million have rocked soccer’s world governing body but this story isn’t just about money. It’s also important to mention the deaths that are going to be associated with soccer’s showpiece event in 2022. The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar didn’t just raise eyebrows. It also created a storm of controversy and disbelief. The World Cup would take place in a tiny nation with a questionable human rights record, barely any soccer culture, and in a climate where playing the sport would be nearly physically impossible.



More importantly, however, migrant workers have been dying in droves since Qatar started work on the infrastructure for the event. Even though it’s difficult to obtain data on the exact number of fatalities, a Guardian investigation revealed migrant workers in Qatar, primarily from Bangladesh, India and Nepal, were dying at the rate of one every two days. The Washington Post compared these figures with other sporting events to gauge the sheer scale of the situation in Qatar. Even though it’s also difficult to divulge which deaths are directly associated with the World Cup, numbers are almost certain to be high. Whether corruption is proven or not, the decision to host the event in such a country is already having far-reaching and fatal consequences. If the current trend continues, 4,000 migrant workers will die in Qatar by the time a ball is kicked in 2022.

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