British man dies working on Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium

A British man has died after falling off a suspended platform while working on a 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar.

The man, 40, fell when the platform, used to manage sound and lighting, collapsed at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday, its construction firm contractor said.

His safety harness was cut during the fall, Midmac-Six Construct said.

Labour said the Qatari authorities and Fifa had been putting “profit before safety”, and urged Fifa to investigate.

The man was employed by a South African subcontractor, which was working for a German firm.

The organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said his next of kin had been informed.

The Foreign Office said it was in touch with the local authorities and ready to support the man’s family “at this very difficult time”.

‘Tragic loss’

Rights group Amnesty International says it is the second death reported by the organisers related to a workplace incident at a Qatar stadium in the last three months.

Its global issues deputy director James Lynch said it was “very concerning”, and organisers must investigate what safety measures were in place.

In a statement, construction firm Midmac-Six Construct said a lever hoist supporting the platform failed “for unknown reasons”, adding that it was working with the local authorities to investigate.

“All of the partners involved in this project are devastated by such a tragic loss of life and we extend our deepest condolences to the victim’s family, friends and colleagues,” the statement said.

Workers at Khalifa International Stadium (file photo)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionLast year, Amnesty said the Qatar government was “apathetic” about preventing abuses

Khalifa, a multi-purpose venue in Qatar’s capital Doha and the home of the national football team, is being extended from its current capacity of 40,000 to 68,000.

It is scheduled to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships and the 2022 World Cup matches up to the quarter-finals stage.

‘Profit before safety’

Last year, Amnesty raised the alarm about conditions for workers refurbishing the stadium, and accused Qatar of using forced labour.

It followed previous reports in 2015 of some 1,200 workers who had died building the stadiums in Qatar for the World Cup.

Labour’s shadow sports minister Rosena Allin-Khan said of the British man’s death: “This kind of incident is becoming all too common… and it’s unacceptable that basic health and safety precautions are not being followed.

“Fifa and the Qatari authorities are putting profit before safety.”

She said Fifa’s new president Gianni Infantino should “show where his priorities lie, launch an urgent investigation and ensure everything is done to protect workers”.

The Khalifa stadium, pictured in 2016
Image captionNot only the Khalifa stadium, but subways, hotels and even an airport are being built for the 2022 World Cup

Fifa said it “deeply regrets” the loss of life, and that the local authorities and the Supreme Committee were investigating the circumstances.

The local authorities in Qatar have repeatedly insisted that the World Cup sites have a good record for worker safety.

Qatar’s record on workers’ rights is currently under review by the United Nations agency the International Labour Organization.

In November, it postponed a decision on whether to set up an official inquiry into Qatar’s compliance with international labour conventions until March – to give the country’s rulers a chance to bring about meaningful changes.

Though the first World Cup stadium was only started in 2014, subways, hotels and even an entire city are being built – along with an airport, numerous roads, a new sewerage system in central Doha and 20 skyscrapers.


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