Mr Blatter is defiant amid calls of resignation. But the death toll of migrant workers employed to build the World Cup infra-structure in Qatar has already reached 964. There are serious allegations against the FIFA officials that they pocketed huge amounts as bribe for awarding Qatar, a nation with no prior soccer culture to speak, the right to host the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup.
A considerable number of workers were hired from India, Nepal and Bhutan for development of the infrastructure of the mega-event in Qatar. The workers were forced to submit their passports and stay in squalid conditions. The risk of working in extensive heat and long hours of duty have taken its toll on the work-force as one Nepalese worker is reported to die every two days, according to the Guardian.
Figures from the Indian embassy show that more than 200 workers have died in 2010 before the official announcement of the World Cup was made. But the numbers could be worse, as International Trade Union Confederation’s report says already 1,200 workers have lost their lives. It is estimated that the death toll will rise to 4,000 by 2022 if current trend continues. The ITUC has labelled the state as a “country without conscience” after inspecting the conditions of the migrant workers.
Qatar though pledged to address worker safety prior to the World Cup.
“We believe that the people helping us build our country deserve to be fairly paid, humanely treated and protected against exploitation,” the country’s labor ministry said. “That is why we are reforming our labour laws and practices.”
The entire episode reveals how back-room corruption takes its toll on human conditions. Ace former French Payer and UEFA chief Michel Platini has personally requested FIFA President Sepp Blatter to quit ahead of the polls on Friday.
A large majority of 54 members from Europe are going to vote for Jordanian vice President Ali Bin Al Hussein, the only challenger of the current FIFA boss. But Blatter is going to bag the maximum number of votes among FIFA’s 209 members. The FIFA is reported to be providing more annual grants and a bigger pie from the World Cup to the developing nations of Asia and Africa.