The deep Western concern in general, and Europe in particular, during last November and December were «Human rights violations in Qatar and workers killed in the construction of stadiums in the emirate».

Those of us who had there, and we were around two million visitors, did not notice such violations during our stay and no claims or protests were registered during the visit of foreigners, always an unmissable opportunity for locals to demonstrate in disagreement with some issue.

There were no restrictions on fan-tourists, as predicted by the European press, nor was it anything like a police state. Yes, almost surprising liberties were enjoyed, even a beautiful air of brotherhood, multiracial coexistence, security was breathed. And about the dead, we do not deny them at all, we do not confirm them either, we simply We continue to keep official reports from the United Nations, the International Labor Organization (ILO), from the governments of the allegedly disappeared or their relatives..

Regarding the latter, it is very curious to never have heard a sorrowful voice for a husband, a son, a victim brother. The ILO even opened an office in Doha on April 30, 2018 to collaborate and closely follow the implementation «of a comprehensive program on working conditions and labor rights in that country,» according to reports.

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‘No one constituted the deaths…’

world cup final stadium

The World Cup left and the European media did not refer to the subject anymore. No one conceded the deaths and no lists of names or evidence were given. Everything was based on information published by the English newspaper The Guardian, which, it assured, there was an impressive figure of 6,500 dead workers.

But no supporting documentation was presented. The Qatari government, for its part, countered: «Only three deaths were registered due to different accidents in the works.» There are 6,497 deaths difference. On such a sensitive issue that concerns human sensibility, the coherent thing would be a serious report endorsed by governments and reliable organizations.

But the World Cup passed and the concern of those same media seems to have also passed, which, fifteen or twenty days after the start of the tournament, as coordinated, intensified with reports and accused articles. After the final no more was discussed on the subject.

Did they bury the 6,500 dead…? Europe and the West need a new toy…? Did the World Cup go wrong for them because it was an indisputable organizational and football success…?

Europe and the West need a new toy…?

“The final was so good that it strengthened the entire World Cup, including Qatar, in that game of projections that football does,” Jorge Valdano correctly declared three days after the curtain fell. But he objected: «Reality is one thing and perception is another. Yesterday the perception was that the World Cup was a success.» With the latter we all stay. However, what happens to Jorge happens to many who live and work in Europe: they find it difficult to surrender to the organizational excellence of Qatar. They can suspect it. It was a magnificent World Cup, but it was already so vilified that many were left without return. Now, each mention in the Spanish, French or German newspapers begins with a catchphrase: «the controversial World Cup in Qatar.» They don’t explain why.

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A country-oven?

Lusail Stadium, built for the World Cup and venue for the grand finale.


José Orlando Ascencio – Special envoy of EL TIEMPO

The cause given for the alleged deaths of thousands of construction workers was that Qatar is an “oven-country” (Definition of the German magazine Der Spiegel) and that the poor Nepalese, Indians, Pakistanis, Bengalis, etc., died from the heat. This was maintained, it was the result of a very extensive note in the American magazine Time. But such a verdict clashes with a personal finding that we made on the spot.

We were surprised that in November-December the temperature was close to 30 degrees (sometimes less) between 11 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon, to then drop considerably. It even got very cool at night. For the record, the matches were mostly at 6, 8, and 10 p.m.

During the tournament we found ourselves in the studio that Win Sports set up in Doha with the Pacheco family, Colombian, who have lived in Doha for two years. We wanted to delve into the weather. Pablo, the father of the family, a petroleum engineer, responded: “Strong heat, bravo, it is in July, August and the first half of September. The rest of the year is like now, a pleasant warmth and, at sunset, cool”. So it is not clear that during that brief period so many miles died, especially since at one point during the construction it was decided to change the working hours and start at 4 in the morning.

In addition, twelve years and nine months passed between the time Qatar was chosen as the venue —on December 2, 2010— and the start of the World Cup. There was a lot of time and money to build the stadiums without having to force the human machinery.
Harold Mayne Nicholl’s, Chilean, FIFA inspector to evaluate the candidacies for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, gave Qatar the lowest grade of all, which entailed a recommendation not to vote for the emirate in the election. He handed in his evaluation on September 14, 2010. However, he later radically changed his stance.

Days before the kick-off of the tournament declared: «I would dare to say that this will be an exceptional World Cup.» And he explained it: “I had no right to oppose Qatar. Yes to report that, of all the venues that were proposed for the World Cup, this meeting the fewest positive requirements in 2010. But that is not the situation today. They took the report we made and acted to correct all the shortcomings. And they achieved the most difficult thing, which was to change the date to avoid the heat. The World Cup will be spectacular «. And he was right.

The feeling remains that everything that is not done in Europe is wrong and must be demonstrated, stained. Russia 2018 was also a fantastic World Cup organizationally, but Russia is a bad word for countries near the Greenwich meridian and Western journalists were careful not to praise it. They just swallowed and moved on.

The approval by the FIFA Council of the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada, as announced, is indeed a mistake that distorts the notion of a host country, of a unifying party. A tournament that will spread over a territory of more than 20 million square km, where fans will not be able to travel miles of kilometers daily to follow the games they prefer (in Qatar they will be able to see two and even three per day). It is physically and economically very complex. It will be an exclusive World Cup for television. And to collect And in June-July it will perhaps be unbearably hot in Mexico and the United States, much worse than in Qatar, as we suffered in 1986 and 1994. But no references will be made to the subject, no one will be scandalized. And it is very doubtful that they refrigerate the stadiums. Much expense.

As in Qatar, the 2026 World Cup will radiate the dominant positive or negative image that the media builds. An example of his tremendous power.
With regard to Europe and deaths, on January 22, the Norwegian Chief of Staff Eirik Kristoffersen revealed that the European Russo-Ukrainian war has already accumulated 180,000 dead or wounded in the ranks of the Russian army, 100,000 on the Ukrainian side and 30,000 dead civilians , or sea 310,000 in total. Number increasing day by day. Of this there is certainty.



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