DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Qatar is investigating the death of a migrant worker who reportedly suffered an accident while doing repairs at a resort that had served as training base for the Saudi team during the World Cup.
Nasser Al Khater, the head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the World Cup, expressed his condolences to the family of the worker.
“Right now, it’s still under investigation and what happened and how it occurred. And obviously, it’s something that we feel very sad about,” Al Khater said.
The worker was a Filipino man who was fixing lights at Sealine Beach resort, a compound of villas, U.S.-based sports website The Athletic reported. It said he slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell headfirst against concrete. The compound served as the training base for the Saudi team, before its elimination during the group stage.
Qatar has come under heavy scrutiny over conditions for migrant workers who have done the labor in the country’s massive building campaign for the World Cup, including $200 billion worth of stadiums, metro lines and other infrastructure.
Last week, a senior official in Qatar’s World Cup organization, Hassan al-Thawadi, put the number of worker deaths during construction for the tournament “between 400 and 500,” a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha. The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, in which al-Thawadi is the secretary general, later said he was referring to figures of work-related deaths from 2014-2020 nationwide, not specifically for the World Cup.
Qatari officials had earlier said there were three work-related fatalities during construction of stadiums for the tournament, along with 37 other deaths of stadium construction workers not related to their work. Rights groups have said those statistics are incomplete, saying Qatar does not count deaths outside the work sites but caused by working conditions like extreme summer heat.
Al Khater, the chief executive officer of Qatar 2022, said construction worker deaths in Qatar were proportional to those in other countries.
“We find that Qatar is like any country in the world who has deaths in the construction industry,” he said. “Unfortunately, people have failed to put that into context.”