Search our database of World Cup migrant worker deaths

As soccer fans around the globe tune into the first World Cup held in the Middle East, migrant workers and human rights groups are calling attention to the true human cost of the controversial tournament.

Millions of migrants from East Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia have flocked to the small Gulf country for work since FIFA chose Qatar as the site of the World Cup in 2010. Many say they’ve been injured, robbed of wages, subjected to forced labor and more to make the games possible. Some have even died.

According to official reports from the Qatari government, a Nepali worker died in 2016 at Al Janoub Stadium after he was struck by a water tanker. Three months later, a British rope technician at Khalifa International Stadium died after he fell 100 feet from a catwalk. In 2018, a Nepali scaffolder died after he fell through an opening in a grate.

Learn more about the deaths below.

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Qatar reports 40 deaths of migrants working on World Cup projects

Qatar’s World Cup organizing committee has reported 40 deaths: three ‘work-related’ deaths at the eight new stadiums and 37 ‘non-work-related’ deaths among migrants working on World Cup-related projects.

Many of the deaths were attributed to ‘natural causes.’ And some of the ‘non-work-related’ deaths appear work-related.

On Monday, Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary general of the World Cup’s organizing committee, said during a television interview an estimated 400 to 500 migrant workers died as a result of World Cup projects.

But organizers quickly walked that back in a statement, saying there were 414 work-related fatalities ‘covering all sectors and nationalities’ — not just World Cup projects — nationwide between 2014 and 2020.

Report suggests thousands died for Qatar’s World Cup

While the U.N.’s labor agency concluded in 2021 it’s ‘currently not possible’ to put a number on occupational injuries and fatalities in Qatar, some experts say the government’s official number of deaths represents only a fraction of the toll.

Data from workers’ home countries suggests more than 6,500 migrants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died in Qatar between 2010 and 2020, a widely-circulated report from The Guardian last year found.

That includes all ages and occupations but does not include deaths of migrants from other countries that regularly send workers to Qatar.

Search our database of migrant worker deaths as reported by Qatar

USA TODAY aggregated information on migrant worker deaths as reported by Qatar using the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s annual Workers’ Welfare Progress reports.

The entries are likely just a glimpse of the number of migrants who died. But they provide some insight into what happened to workers — and how their deaths were classified.

Follow Grace Hauck and Neena Hagen on Twitter at @grace_hauck and @neena_hagen, or email them at ghauck@usatoday.com and nhagen@usatoday.com.

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