Football

Migrant worker falls to his death at World Cup resort while carrying out repairs during tournament 

A migrant worker has died while carrying out repairs at a resort used as a FIFA training base during the Qatar World Cup.

The worker – a Filipino man identified by onsite crew as Alex – reportedly slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell against concrete. Medics responded to the scene, but Alex could not be saved.

Staff, speaking to The Athletic on the condition of anonymity, allege Alex was a visiting worker at the five-star Sealine Beach resort. 

They say he fell while trying to fix lights in a car park. The worker, believed to be in his 40s, was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident.

A migrant worker has died while carrying out repairs at a resort used as a FIFA training base during the Qatar World Cup. Pictured: Workers outside the training centre last month

A migrant worker has died while carrying out repairs at a resort used as a FIFA training base during the Qatar World Cup. Pictured: Workers outside the training centre last month

The worker - a Filipino man identified by onsite crew as Alex - died at the five-star Sealine Beach resort (pictured). He reportedly slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell against concrete. Medics responded to the scene, but Alex could not be saved

The worker – a Filipino man identified by onsite crew as Alex – died at the five-star Sealine Beach resort (pictured). He reportedly slipped off a ramp while walking alongside a forklift and fell against concrete. Medics responded to the scene, but Alex could not be saved

The accident occurred on a public road within the resort, which during the World Cup is renting rooms beginning at around £265 per night.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, which has organised the football tournament in Qatar, told The Athletic the road was adjacent to the training centre.

Crew claim Alex, an alleged employee of Qatari company Salam Petroleum, and the forklift driver were not accompanied by any other workers.

They claim a third worker would typically be onsite to assist with the process.

The Qatari government is handling the investigation into the incident, the Supreme Committee confirmed, noting: ‘Due to the incident referred to having taken place on property not under the jurisdiction of the SC, and the deceased working as a contractor not under the remit of the SC, this matter is being handled by the relevant government authorities. 

‘The SC is following up with the same relevant authorities to ensure we are updated with developments pertaining to the investigation on a regular basis and has established contact with the family of the deceased to ensure relevant information is conveyed.’

Staff say Alex fell while trying to fix lights in a car park at the resort. The worker, believed to be in his 40s, was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident

Staff say Alex fell while trying to fix lights in a car park at the resort. The worker, believed to be in his 40s, was not wearing a safety harness at the time of the accident

A Qatari government official added that if its probe ‘concludes that safety protocols were not followed,’ Salam Petroleum could be subject to ‘legal action and severe financial penalties.’

The government did not disclose the date of Alex’s death, but Sky News has confirmed the accident occurred during the group stage which ran from November 20 to December 2.

FIFA, football’s governing agency, said it is ‘deeply saddened by this tragedy’ and has offered it’s ‘thoughts and sympathies’ to Alex’s family.

‘As soon as FIFA was made aware of the accident, we contacted the local authorities to request more details,’ the firm told the news network, declining to elaborate.

‘FIFA will be in a position to comment further once the relevant processes in relation to the worker’s passing have been completed.’

Alex’s death is the latest in a number of migrant worker fatalities linked to World Cup-related projects.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the European Parliament this year that three migrant workers had died during the building of Qatar’s eight World Cup stadiums. The figures were reportedly provided by the Qatari government.

However, Hassan Al-Thawadi – the Qatari official responsible for delivery of the World Cup – prompted confusion last week when he told Piers Morgan Uncensored at least 400 had died.

‘The estimate is around 400,’ Mr Al-Thawadi said. ‘Between 400 and 500. I don’t have the precise number, that is something that is being discussed.

‘One death is too many, it’s as simple as that. Every year the health and safety standards on the sites are improving, at least on our sites, the World Cup sites, the ones we are responsible for. 

‘Most definitely to the extent that you have trade unions [commending] the work that has been done on World Cup sites and the improvement.’

A top Qatari official involved in the country's World Cup organisation has put the number of worker deaths for the tournament 'between 400 and 500' for the first time, a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha. Pictured: Migrant workers in Qatar

A top Qatari official involved in the country’s World Cup organisation has put the number of worker deaths for the tournament ‘between 400 and 500’ for the first time, a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha. Pictured: Migrant workers in Qatar 

The surprising comment by Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, came off the cuff during an interview

The surprising comment by Hassan al-Thawadi, secretary-general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, came off the cuff during an interview

The figure is a drastically higher number than any other previously offered by Doha.

Reports from the Supreme Committee dating from 2014 to the end of 2021 only include the number of worker deaths involved in building and refurbishing the stadiums now hosting the World Cup.

Those figures put the total number of deaths at 40, and include 37 from what the Qatar officially describes as non-work incidents such as heart attacks and three from workplace incidents. 

One report also separately lists a worker death from coronavirus amid the pandemic.

In a later statement, the Supreme Committee said Mr al-Thawadi was referring to ‘national statistics covering the period of 2014-20 for all work-related fatalities (414) nationwide in Qatar, covering all sectors and nationalities’.

In 2021, The Guardian reported that 6,500 migrant workers had died since the country was awarded the rights to host the World Cup in 2010 by Fifa.

Since then, the country has taken some steps to overhaul the country’s employment practices, including eliminating its so-called kafala system.

This tied workers to their employers, who had a say over whether they could leave their jobs or even the country.


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