The 2014 World Cup preparations have cost Brazil a lot more than money. On Thursday, a worker died during construction on one of the stadiums, bringing the current number of World Cup-related deaths in Brazil to eight. In Qatar, nearly 1,000 workers have died in preparation for the 2022 games, bringing to light necessary reforms needed in workers’ rights.
Muhammad Ali Maciel, 32, died from cardiorespiratory arrest after receiving an electrical shock at the site of Arena Pantanal. According to the NY Daily News, paramedics tried to revive Maciel at the stadium, but unfortunately he did not survive. Maciel was employed by Etel Engenharia and was involved in setting up the information and communication networks in the stadium.
Rosenil Moraes, head of emergency services in the western state of Mato Gross, told the Daily News that there is currently an investigation to determine what went wrong. Maciel was reportedly wearing safety equipment when he received the deadly shock. His death interrupted the already severely delayed construction of the venue, only five weeks before the soccer tournament is set to begin.
The accidents are becoming more frequent as the pressure to complete the job intensifies. The tournament is set to begin on June 12, but still a number of stadiums are not yet finished. On average, one worker has been killed per month on the site's construction since November, The Guardian reported. To better put this into perspective, in preparations for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, only two workers died in the construction efforts.
Other deaths attributed to the 2014 World Cup constructions in Brazil include an injury sustained at a site in the capital Brasilia, three workers dying in Sao Paulo, and three in the jungle city of Manaus, including a man whose head was crushed by a machine part.
The number of World Cup related deaths is even higher in Qatar, the host country for the 2022 games. Every day a migrant worker dies there amid the construction. The country’s labor laws are under international investigation for inhumane working conditions and a visa system that mirrors slavery, not allowing workers to leave the country without their employers’ permission.
Since constructions began in January 2012, a total of 997 workers have died in World Cup-related accidents. Recent figures show an additional 142 migrant workers have died between January and April of this year. The majority of migrant workers are from Nepal and India. The International Trade Union Confederation warns that 4,000 workers could die before the games even begin in 2022 if nothing is done to reform the labor laws.
“Fifa must insist on substantial change that dramatically improves the lot of migrant workers currently suffering in Qatar,” Jim Murphy, a shadow secretary for international development in the United Nations, explained to The Guardian.