FIFA is set to generate £3 billion from the World Cup in Qatar, while thousands of migrant workers have lost their lives in the Middle Eastern state since it was awarded the blue riband event.
New figures detailing the football governing body’s budget for 2022, included in its annual report, reveal it is anticipating a windfall from broadcast, marketing rights and hospitality.
But while the international governing body eyes profits, which are expected to exceed £1.1 billion in 2022, the workers who have been preparing for the competition, which kicks off on November 21, have suffered.
The Al Bayt stadium, built for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Al Khor, north of Qatar’s capital Doha
Workers constructing stadiums and infrastructure in Qatar have been exploited, it’s claimed
Haves… And have nots
£138 billion – estimated cost of staging the 2022 World Cup
£3.4 billion – the revenues FIFA expect to earn in 2022
£1.9 billion – the value of FIFA broadcasting rights in 2022
£1 billion estimated profits for FIFA in 2022
£660 million – the cost of the Al Bayt stadium in Qatar
£65m paid to Six Construct to refurbish the Khalifa Stadium
3,200 migrants worked on the showpiece Khalifa Stadium every day
£3,000 – how much some migrants paid to get job at Qatar’s World Cup
£200 per month – the new minimum wage for migrant workers in Qatar
£8.30-a-day – what the minimum wage works out at for migrant workers
7 months – how long workers waited for to paid at the Al-Bayt Stadium
Sources: FIFA Annual Report 2020 and Amnesty International
More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are believed to have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup 10 years ago.
Since 2010, seven new stadiums, an airport, roads, public transport systems including a metro, hotels and a new city, have been built or are under construction to host the World Cup finals at a cost estimated to be as high as £138 billion.
‘A very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in the country because Qatar won the right to host the World Cup,’ Nick McGeehan, a director at FairSquare Projects, an advocacy group specialising in labour rights in the Gulf, told The Guardian during an investigation last month.
The number of deaths has been compiled from government records in the home countries of the workers, but many are not recorded in detail and simply listed as ‘natural’.
Qatar estimates just 37 workers have died on the construction of World Cup stadiums, but it keeps limited records and does not investigate deaths, according to human rights groups.
Migrant labour makes up 95% of the workforce on the World Cup sites and those working in the Middle Eastern state earn a minimum wage of £200-a-month, can go months without pay, sometimes are not paid at all and live in squalid conditions, campaigners say.
In its annual report, FIFA reveals its 2022 budget. While revenues are comprised of all its activities in that year and total £3.4 billion, the majority of the income is driven by the World Cup, according to analysts. The vast majority of the boradcast, marketing, licensing and hospitality income will relate to the World Cup. The only other tournament finals taking place in that year are the U20 and U17 Women’s World Cups and FIFA eWorld Cup.
FIFA is anticipating revenues from broadcasting rights of more than £1.9 billion and almost £1 billion from marketing rights in 2022.
In addition, ticket sales and hospitality for the World Cup will be £360 million.
Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup by FIFA in December 2010 at a ceremony in Zurich
For as long as a decade, workers have been building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup
The build-up to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has been marred by migrant worker deaths
And the world football governing body used its report to hail progress made on workers’ rights.
‘Since the FIFA World Cup 2022 was awarded to Qatar, there has been a major collective effort from the local authorities, our partner the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy [a government body] and the International Labour Organisation to bring about positive change.
‘And we are really pleased to see that this has materialised into concrete major progress in the area of workers’ rights, said Gianni Infantino, the FIFA President.
FIFA president Gianni Infatino has hailed progress in workers’ rights in Qatar this year
Qatar World Cup will be one of the most compact ever with all stadiums in a 35-mile radius
England’s campaign for Qatar is due to start; the tournament begins in November 2022
FIFA relies upon the Qatar government to monitor workers’ rights and the report quotes Mahmoud Qutub, the workers’ welfare executive director on the Supreme Committee.
‘We are driven by a commitment to ensure the people building our stadiums and venues are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.’ said Qutub. ‘Tangible changes in worker standards on our projects now serve as benchmarks across Qatar and the region.’
As FIFA unveiled its revenue estimated for 2022, Amnesty International renewed its call for the governing body to do more to protect workers, many of whom are in Qatar in order to send money to their families back home.
FIFA’s decision to award Qatar next year’s World Cup has been protested since 2010
Steve Cockburn, head of economic and social justice at Amnesty International, said: ‘These workers still find that their time in Qatar is defined by abuse and exploitation.
‘FIFA must act now to ensure that the 2022 World Cup is a tournament to be proud of, and not one tainted by labour abuses.’
Since 2017, Qatar has introduced several reforms aimed at benefiting migrant workers, including the removal of the Kalafa system, which tied workers to their employer meaning they could not leave their job regardless of abuses they suffered.
And in 2019, FIFA developed a sustainability strategy for the tournament, which ‘set out the ambitious plans to maximise the tournament’s contribution to people’s well-being, economic development’.
But Amnesty among other rights groups insist the reforms have not been properly implemented and ”thousands of migrant workers continue to be exploited’.
Amnesty International have called on FIFA to ensure Qatar implement their promised labour reforms. Pictured is a bunk bed in accommodation for migrant workers in Qatar
Furthermore, it says Qatar’s Shura Council, an advisory body, has put forward recommendations to undo progress brought about by reforms.
Amnesty has written to FIFA to underline its concerns. In particular, it would like FIFA to monitor workers’ conditions for itself and not rely on the Qatar government.
The campaign group says when FIFA awarded the tournament to Qatar it must have known workers ‘would suffer to make it possible’.
‘This week’s qualifiers are a reminder that the window for FIFA to influence Qatar is closing,’ said Cockburn.
Georginio Wijnaldum has spokenout on the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar
One success, highlighted by FIFA, has been the introduction of a minimum wage for migrants of £200 on top of accommodation.
Since workers typically toil for six days a week, in temperatures that reach 50C, it works out at just £8.30-a-day in the richest country on earth. The migrants can pay up to £3,000 to recruitment agencies to obtain the job in the first place.
‘While this wage is an improvement for many, it remains low – not least for workers who may be repaying debts on illegal recruitment fees while also supporting their families back home,’ May Romanos, Gulf researcher at Amnesty, told Sportsmail.
‘We also know that too often workers are not paid on time – or in some cases not even paid at all – so it’s essential that both FIFA and Qatar step up their efforts to enforce laws and make sure all workers in the country are paid a decent wage every month.’
Migrant workers in Qatar are now entitled to minimum wage of £8.30 per day under new rules
The human rights body says that construction workers on the £660m Al Bayt Stadium worked for up to seven months without pay and the Qatari authorities knew about the abuse for a year without taking any action.
This week, Dutch international and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum spoke out on the development of the facilities in Qatar.
He said he had not been aware of the treatment of migrant workers until he played there for Liverpool in the 2019 World Club Cup.
‘[The players] have… not chosen to hold the World Cup in Qatar,’ said Wijnaldum. ‘We can pay attention to it. I think many people have not always been aware of the situation in Qatar.
Norway wore t-shirts protesting the human rights record of 2022 World Cup hosts, Qatar
‘I knew that the KNVB did not agree with it at the time, but that number of 6,500 deaths. I did not know. I think that applies to a lot of players.’
And on Wednesday, Norway’s national team took a stand against Qatar’s human rights record prior to Wednesday’s 2022 World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar.
Erling Haaland and his team-mates stood arm-in-arm for the national anthem as they sported white t-shirts which simply read: ‘Human Rights – on and off the pitch’.