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Qatar World Cup worker fell to his death: contractor

The Al Wakrah Stadium is one of eight proposed venues for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar © AFP/File / KARIM JAAFAR

DOHA, Qatar, Aug 29 – A Nepalese labourer who died working at a World Cup stadium in Qatar fell to his death, one of the main contractors at the site said.

The 23-year-old scaffolder died on August 14 at the $680 million (590 million euros) Al Wakrah stadium, one of the proposed venues for the controversial 2022 tournament.

“We can confirm this worker lost his life. He was performing access platform related work for one of the sub-contractors on site,” said a spokeswoman for Belgian construction giant Besix, one of Al Wakrah’s main contractors.

Asked if that meant he had fallen to his death, the spokeswoman replied: “Yes”.

This has been independently confirmed by three other sources.

Besix, which operates in the Gulf through its subsidiary, Six Construct, works as part of a joint venture at Al Wakrah with Qatari company Midmac and Austrian firm Porr.

Qatar’s World Cup organising body, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, is carrying out an ongoing investigation into the death. Besix has provided evidence to the probe.

A committee spokesman told AFP the worker’s body had been repatriated and that an “end of service payment had been made in a timely and respectful manner” to the worker’s family.

Construction workers are seen at the Al-Wakrah Stadium in Qatar on February 06, 2018 © AFP/File / KARIM JAAFAR

The worker who died was believed to be supporting a wife and a four-year-old child back home in Nepal.

His brother-in-law also works in Qatar.

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The investigation team examining the circumstances around the tragedy also includes — for the first time — a member from the international trade union, the BWI.

On its website, the union said the investigation would examine “the nature and cause of the accident”.

In 2016, the BWI and the Supreme Committee signed an agreement to carry out joint inspections at World Cup stadiums.

Al Wakrah, located around 20 kilometres south of the capital Doha, is one of eight stadiums proposed for the Qatar World Cup.

The incident is believed to be the first reported death at a tournament venue since British construction worker Zac Cox plunged to his death at the refurbished Khalifa International Stadium in January 2017.

A subsequent inquest by a British coroner accused managers of providing the 40-year-old with sub-standard equipment and said the working environment was “downright dangerous”.

Six Construct and Midmac were also among the main contractors at Khalifa.

Another Nepalese labourer, 29-year-old Anil Kumar Pasman, died at Al Wakrah after being struck by a lorry in October 2016.

Qatar’s World Cup has long been dogged by allegations of mistreatment of workers, with one union claiming 1,200 people had been killed working on projects for the 2022 tournament, a claim vehemently denied by officials in Doha.

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