“More than 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar amid the nation’s preparation to host the 2022 World Cup.” – Source
I can’t help but wonder which two countries were semi-finalists for hosting the event?
Huh… Now, I can’t help but wonder if 6,500 construction workers would have died if US had won the bid? I suspect not. I suspect no one would have died, as we have dozens of stadiums throughout these United States perfectly suited for this event. In fact, eight stadiums in the United States have a seating capacity in excess of 100,000 people, five of which are in warmer states in the South suitable for the November to December event.
Was the potential loss of construction workers’ lives even a remote consideration in the bidding process? Again, I suspect not.
Hey, soccer fans: Construction has always been a dangerous profession, but let’s put this into perspective, mainly with respect to historical practices vs modern practices:
1869: First US Transcontinental Railroad – 1,000 to 1,500
1883: The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge took its (human) toll – there are no exact numbers, but at least 20 people died building the architectural masterpiece.
1914: Panama Canal – 27,500+, mostly under the French attempt between 1881-1894, and most dying from malaria and yellow fever. After the US picked up the task in 1904 and completed it by 1914, “only” 5,609 people died.
1931: Empire State Building: 5
1936: Hoover Dam – 96, many from falling debris.
By this time, at least in the United States, unnecessary loss of life due to construction accidents had become unforgivable. Both designers and construction firms began intentionally designing and using a number of safety measures designed to prevent it.
1937: In the 1930s, a rule of thumb on high-steel bridge construction projects was to expect one fatality for every $1 million in cost. By those standards, the construction safety record for the $35 million Golden Gate Bridge was impressive: only 11 construction workers died – 10 of which died when a platform broke free and plunged through the safety net. Joseph Strauss made safety a high priority on the treacherous project. The chief engineer made the construction site the first in America to require workers to wear hard hats, and he spent $130,000 on an innovative safety net that was suspended under the bridge deck. The net saved the lives of 19 workers, who called themselves the “Halfway to Hell Club.”
1942: 45+ people died during the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in upper Washington State, mostly of heat exhaustion and heart attacks rather than direct hazards from the construction itself.
1965: Although an actuarial firm predicted thirteen workers would die while building the arch, no workers i.e. 0 people were killed during the construction of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
So, the very idea that 6,500 workers died preparing for the World Cup to be held in Qatar, 56 years after the completion of the Gateway Arch, is really quite unacceptable.
I, for one, will NOT be watching the World Cup this year.
It was insane for FIFA not to consider the potential loss of life incurred while preparing for the event. If FIFA did include that as a consideration, their process is clearly flawed as IT DIDN’T WORK.