The first ever Arab FIFA World Cup is set to take place later this year, but it is not without controversy.
It is believed that over 6,500 migrant workers have lost their lives building in preparation for this year’s mega event, carving cities, roads and stadiums out of the desert sand.
Known as slipping deaths, or ciplō mr̥tyu in Nepalese, exhausted workers, often from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, who have all been given prior medicals, have been known to die in the night following a long day of working in the fiercely searing sun without shade, time outs and/or water, all for just the equivalent of £8.30 per day.
Nepal itself has lost 1,641 citizens, all of whom will have had their passports confiscated on arrival in emirate.
Because of the Kalafa system, which was unsuccessfully removed in 2017, workers were tied to their employer and were unable to leave their job regardless of any abuses suffered.
Some were even made to wait seven months before receiving their first miserly pay packet.
Reformed Labour Laws
FIFA may point out that labour laws have changed and working conditions have improved since 2019 but construction began in 2010 as soon as Qatar was controversially awarded the tournament.
Worse still, many of these workers paid as much as £3,000 to recruitment agencies for a chance to work on construction, only to be paid a pittance building for a tournament that will earn FIFA more than £3 billion.
In a further insult, Qatar has failed to record the details of deaths, often referring to them as natural, leaving grieving families back home with no income and no idea where their loved ones were working when they perished, but still being forced to pay back the recruitment agency loan that helped to secure the rotten job in the first place.
Ridiculously, Qatar claims there have been only 37 worker deaths due the construction of World Cup stadiums.
Nevertheless, the competition which shames football will go ahead this November at an estimated cost of £138 billion from the 21st of November to the 18th of December making it the first ever Christmas World Cup.
A total of eight stadiums have been prepared across five cities all in close proximity which is another first for the biggest tournament in world football.
While we don’t yet know the draw, we do know which stadiums have been designated which matches.
A number of the stadiums used for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be repurposed after the event.
For instance, the Education City Stadium will see its capacity cut in half with over 20,000 of its seats being donated to build stadiums in developing countries, while the Al Thumama will also cut its capacity in half following the tournament with more than 20,000 seats being used to promote football again in developing nations.
Lusail Iconic Stadium
The venue for the 2022 World Cup final, this stadium is based in Lusail and can hold up to 86,000 people. Five group matches will also be played here along with one round of 16 match, one quarter final and one semi final. Designed by British architects Foster and Partners, the stadium has been made to look like bowl weaving, an ancient Arab craft. The city of Lusail has been especially developed entirely for this event and will eventually include marinas, island resorts, luxury shopping and leisure facilities, and more.
Al Bayt Stadium
Holding 60,000, this Al Khor based ground will hold five group matches, one round of 16 game plus a quarter final and a semi final. The design of the ground is based on the tents used by the nomadic Bedouin people that have been wandering across the Arab world for centuries. The ground will be set among a wider complex that will feature numerous amenities such as a shopping mall, a hospital and more.
Al Janoub Stadium
At 40,000 capacity, the Al Janoub stadium in Al Wakah is slightly smaller than the two above and will host the five group games and one round of 16 match. This ground was designed by the architect Dame Zaha Hadid and was inspired by the hulls of the pearl fishing boats that are commonly used around the Arabian Peninsula. It has even been built using traditional materials and timber.
Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
The Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan also holds 40,000 and will be used for five group matches and one round of 16 game. Situated on the edge of the desert in one of Qatar’s most traditional and historic cities, this ground will be accessible via a purpose built metro line.
Khalifa International Stadium
The Khalifa International Stadium in the capital of Doha can hold up to 40,000 spectators. Games that will be played here include five group round clashes, one round of 16 and the third and fourth play offs. This is the only Qatar football World Cup stadium that has not being built from scratch. As such, it is the most iconic arena in the country having been originally built in 1976. After a massive refurb, the ground reopened in 2017 to include advanced cooling technologies to moderate the heat for both players and fans. Set in Doha’s Aspire Zone, the stadium is recognisable for its dual arch external structure.
Education City Stadium
Also in Doha, this ground was ready in 2020 and hold up to 40,000 people. Five first round matches are set to be played here alongside one round of 16 game plus one of the four quarter finals. The stadium takes its name from its proximity to Qatar’s leading university and has been designed to look like a diamond that will glitter in the day time and light up at night. The grounds will also contain a state of the art shopping mall and golf course.
Ras Abu Aboud Stadium
The Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will have 40,000 seats and play home to five group round games plus one last 16 clash. Set on the shores of the Gulf just across the bay from Doha, this waterside arena was made using repurposed materials including old shipping containers, the stadium will be deconstructed following the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup, with the parts to be recycled for other building projects throughout the emirate.
Al Thumama Stadium
The Al Thumama Stadium in Doha will stage five group ones, one round of 16 and a quarter final contest. The design of this ground was inspired by the gahfiya which is a traditional woven cap worn by Arab males. The stadium will be reachable by another metro line from Doha that was built especially for the occasion.