Dutch companies bag millions for World Cup projects despite protest against host Qatar – Doha News

Since winning the bid to host the World Cup, Qatar has been the focus of western media outlets who heavily criticized the Gulf state over its treatment of migrant workers.

Dutch companies made millions of euros through building projects for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, despite a barrage of criticism from The Netherlands against host country Qatar.

The findings were presented in the Dutch newspaper Trouw on Tuesday, which pointed to the deaths of migrant workers who were also involved in the World Cup construction sites.

The newspaper noted that it remains unknown whether there have been deaths at the projects that Dutch companies worked on. Some of the companies that made millions include construction giant BAM, steel company Frijns Staal, and Royal HaskoningDHV.

The companies worked on building Qatar’s metro station, airport construction, and stadiums to welcome some 1.5 million football enthusiasts flocking to the Gulf state for the sporting event.

While listing the companies, the Dutch outlet claimed Qatar was not prepared for kick off in November, despite statements made by Qatari and FIFA officials stating the contrary.

The latest report on money earned by the Dutch companies offers a stark contradiction to protest statements from The Netherlands – over Qatar hosting the World Cup due to human rights abuses.

Various sponsors of the Dutch national football team opted out of the event, including ING, Albert Heijn, KPN, and lottery company Nederlandse Loterij.

The Dutch football federation (KNVB) was among those that have expressed their opposition to the sporting event over the last few years. The federation had told Doha News last year that it was never in “favour” of the Qatari bid for the 2022 edition of the World Cup due to its “lack of football history and harsh temperatures.”

However, the KNVB backtracked on its statements upon its visit to Doha in February.

During the visit, the Dutch members approved the St. Regis Hotel in Doha as accommodation for the national football team, in addition to two football fields at Qatar University as designated training venues.

Labor reform

Since winning the bid to host the World Cup in 2010, Qatar has been the focus of western media outlets who heavily criticized the Gulf state over its treatment of migrant workers.

However, several headlines by the outlets have been slammed by Qatari authorities as “sensationalist”.

In May, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani took aim at the unfair criticism of the Gulf state at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

“For decades now, the Middle East has suffered from discrimination. And I have found that such discrimination is largely based on people not knowing us, and in some cases, refusing to get to know us,” said Sheikh Tamim.

Qatar has introduced historic reform in an effort to ensure the rights of workers are respected since it won the bid to host the major event.

Some of those included the dismantling of the controversial Kafala system that stopped workers from freely changing jobs. Another is the region’s first ever non-discriminatory minimum wage law, introduced last year.

Doha has also been working closely with the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO) along with other international bodies that have assisted it in improving the local work environments.

“These individuals, including many in positions of influence, have launched attacks at a pace never seen before when a mega-sporting event was hosted by other countries on different continents,” said the amir, noting that those countries have their own set of issues and challenges.

To better assist workers, the ministry of labor launched a new platform for workers’ complaints in May 2021. This enables employees to submit public violations of the labor law.

More than 2,000 labor complaints were filed with the ministry against firms and institutions across the country in December alone, leading to mass fines and punitive action.

While positive changes have been witnessed and praised by rights bodies, there are numerous cases of employers not abiding by the reforms.

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