The news hit the headline couple of days ahead of World Cup 2022, that the German National Team Players was going to donate substantial amount of money to help Nepal’s children of migrant workers whose fathers perished while constructing the stadiums. Nepal government records shows more than 2,100 workers have died in Qatar. They are mostly between 20 and 45 of age by heart failures. Even those who return die within two years from kidney failures. New York Times labels the migrants as the forgotten team of the world cup.
Bayern Munich captain and keeper Manuel Neuer made the announcement on twitter.
Germany players will donate €1m to an SOS Children village in Nepal. The aim of this initiative is to support children of migrant workers in Qatar or children who lost their fathers and can't get an education pic.twitter.com/W1UOB1B1is
— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) November 18, 2022
Never in the history of football world cup has there been such a controversy as the Qatar World Cup 2022. From the day it was awarded to the day the games have started, the controversy do not go away, actually even getting stronger. In all this dark and somber mood, something slightly positive has taken place. Maybe it was a part of the effort to rectify the injustice of this saga.
Probably affected by the negative publicity, rash response of the Qatar government, and maybe to a tiny degree their conscience, Germany national team player announced to donate € 1 million over the next five years to a children’s charity SOS Children’s Village of Nepal. The aim is said to be to help the children whose fathers died working in Qatar for the world cup infrastructure.
NPR report cites Minky Worden, the director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch suggesting setting up a fund to rectify the human rights abuses associated with the World Cup preparation in Qatar.
“We believe that players don’t want to play in stadiums that workers died to build. We believe that fans don’t want to stay in hotels or use metros that workers died to build.”
Hence, there has been a call by the human rights groups to set up a fund, a remedy fund, to compensate the families of those migrant workers who did not return to their homes and family, and for those abused during the construction of the infrastructure required for the event. The demand is for an amount equal to the World Cup prize money, at least $440 million. Well, that is certainly something better than nothing.
There have been reports of more than 17,000 workers death by unofficial count, while 6500 was the number put forth only from give South Asian countries by The Guardian newspaper after its investigation in 2021. Rolling Stone magazine highlighted the plights of the workers after interviewing many families by its headline alone: ‘A World Cup Built on Modern Slavery.’
Given the money involved in the economics of games, such sufferings are always overlooked, and when the controversy starts to bite, the easiest way to deflect such damages is simply to compensate. This cannot be really the right thing to do, but in the world that is headed in the wrong direction, such small gestures can highlight the plight of the current world even more, and help us fight the system, and maybe bring about some change, which should start right from the process of awarding the honor to host the game.
For the children, who are supposed to benefit from the largesse of the German team, the program is going to last for five years. However, there still remains a question about the kind of program that will be targeting their welfare. Those who have returned are not only facing health problems, but still face the debt they took out to pay the agents who sent them there. Will that plight also be addressed by anyone? Maybe FIFA?
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007. His youtube channel is https://www.youtube.com/@Live4Sai/videos
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.