Qatar World Cup | At What Cost?

RBD10T Doha, Qatar. 09th Jan, 2019. The Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari desert city of Doha. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Credit: Peter Kneffel/dpa/Alamy Live News

As we hurtle towards the end of a year which has been blighted by ever-lingering uncertainty, we seek hope in whatever form it may present itself.

Hope is abound this December in the form of an unprecedented winter World Cup, which, thus far, has produced some of the most frantically entertaining football to date. As I write (from an England perspective) a quarter-final against France looms, and the nation awaits Saturday evening with both trepidation and excitement in abundance.

However, it is obvious that this great festival of football has been marred, and will undoubtedly be remembered for everything but the game itself. The values which we hold so dear in the West are absent in Qatar, and controversy continues to linger, as it has since the Gulf state was awarded the tournament over a decade ago.

At the time of award, Qatar was unquestionably ill-equipped to host; the glistening stadia and infrastructure we see today were built with rapidity – harsh deadlines were set in order to host this most esteemed competition.

Harrowingly, such rapid development has come at a very real cost, in the form of the unprecedented deaths of many migrant construction workers – the exact number remains fiercely disputed. Qatari officials vaguely estimate the number of deaths to be between ‘400-500’, while Western outlets, such as The Guardian, have estimated deaths to be in the thousands. Of course, every one of these deaths is a tragedy.

The cause of these deaths are not entirely clear, however, it is certainly likely that the combination of intolerable heat, paired with the rifeness of disease associated with abysmal living and working conditions, will have played a part.

We recognise that, by its very nature, the construction industry presents a greater risk to workers than most industries. However, in such terrible circumstances, we should note the utter disparity between our nations’ attitudes towards both the physical and mental wellbeing of our workers, and we must be grateful that projects throughout the nation are undertaken with an unwavering commitment to health and safety regulations.

Lessons must be learnt from this World Cup. Much is talked about ‘legacy’ and the positive ripples that can spring from such a tournament, and we sincerely hope that such dire lessons will be heeded by nations around the world to ensure construction workers are genuinely safeguarded.

Whether it be Southgate’s men that lays their hands on this most prized trophy or another nation, many will, despite the jubilation, be thinking, ‘at what cost’.

This article, as with all other articles we produce, is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute formal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For bespoke, unbiased advice relating to your commercial roofing project please contact us and we would be pleased to assist.

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