Doha, Qatar (AFP)
World Cup host Qatar is investigating the death of a migrant worker, an official said Thursday, after reports he died at a training base during the ongoing football tournament.
The death of a Filipino in his 40s was first reported on Wednesday by The Athletic sports website and later confirmed by the Philippines’ Foreign Ministry.
The Athletic said the man fell off a ramp while repairing lights at a resort used as a training base by Saudi Arabia’s national football team.
The report said he had not been wearing a harness. It did not specify the date of the accident. Saudi Arabia’s run at the tournament ended on November 30 with a loss to Mexico.
“The incident is being investigated by the Qatari authorities,” a Qatari government official said on condition of anonymity.
“If the investigation concludes that safety protocols were not followed, the company will be subject to legal action and severe financial penalties.”
Manila’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday told AFP the man died “while working at a resort in Mesaieed,” south of Doha.
Diplomats were “working with legal authorities to ascertain more details”, the ministry said in a statement, adding it would facilitate “the earliest repatriation” of his body.
World football’s governing body FIFA said it was “deeply saddened by this tragedy”.
“As soon as FIFA was made aware of the accident, we contacted the local authorities to request more details,” it said in a statement.
Qatar’s World Cup organisers, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said the site of the accident was not under its jurisdiction.
The man who died — a contractor — was also “not under the remit” of the committee, it said in a statement.
Migrant workers make up more than 2.5 million of Qatar’s 2.9 million population and labour conditions have been strongly criticised — particularly in the lead-up to the World Cup.
Last month, Qatari authorities said 414 migrant workers died in labour accidents in the country between 2014-2020.
Under pressure from international unions, Qatar has undertaken labour reforms that have been praised. These include introduction of a minimum wage of 1,000 riyals ($260), and restriction of hours in which workers can go out in extreme heat.
The World Cup began on November 20 and ends on December 18.
© Agence France-Presse