Is the World Cup worth dying for?

The abuse of migrant workers constructing venues for Qatar's 2022 World Cup is an issue for all who love the “beautiful game”, write Justine Nolan and Bassina Farbenblum.

P20 Essay Cahill 1

Socceroo Tim Cahill celebrates victory over Iraq to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. Photo: Toby Zerna / News Ltd/Newspix

It is known worldwide as the beautiful game, yet a recent report by the International Trade Union Commission has highlighted football’s uglier side.

The ITUC report, The Case Against Qatar, claims construction for the Arab nation’s 2022 FIFA World Cup will claim the lives of 4,000 migrant construction workers before a ball is even kicked.

The report alleges 1,200 migrant workers have already died since Qatar won the right to host the World Cup in 2010, but regardless of the toll, construction continues unabated.

Despite worldwide pressure from media, and labour and human rights movements, FIFA and the Qatari government seem unwilling to act. Qatari representatives have said they are “taking the problem seriously” yet little has changed in the treatment of the migrant workers who make up 96% of Qatar’s workforce – the highest proportion of migrants of any country in the world.

Read the full essay in the latest issue of Uniken.