Skip to main content

The repechage of the world champions of human rights

Stories and News No. 1264

Dear italian friends,
professional football fans, first-time supporters or long-time loyal ones of the rolling ball, hopefully inside the opponent's goal.
I am here to offer you a bitter sweet compensation for the pain and disgrace due to the umpteenth failure to qualify for the final phase of the world tournament.
You should know that according to an investigation from The Guardian, low-wage migrant workers in Qatar appear to have paid about $ 1.5 billion in taxes, possibly up to $ 2 billion, between 2011 and 2020, despite being completely illegal. These people, who are mostly from Bangladesh and Nepal, make up nearly a third of Qatar's foreign workforce, about two million, and typically pay $ 1,000 to $ 3,000 in taxes. This means that with average salaries of $ 275 a month, they are forced to work for at least a year just to pay the unfair hiring tax.
On many occasions, immigrants have had to obtain a loan to pay that and unable to repay it within the deadline, they find themselves forced to work indefinitely, in one of the many forms of modern slavery tolerated today.
Nevertheless, every year hundreds of thousands of people, despite knowing these dangers, starting from even worse situations and with no way out, decide to embark on this horrible journey towards exploitation or even death.
In fact, according to a recent report on enslaved immigrant workers in the Gulf countries, including Qatar itself, we see that up to ten thousand die every year. Most of the time the reasons for deaths are filed as natural causes and cardiac arrest, but the reality confirmed by the report tells us of people exposed daily to an enormous amount of risks, including heat and humidity, air pollution, overwork and conditions of abusive work, poor health practices and lack of safety, psycho social stress and hypertension.
Well, it happens that most of these workers, among the poorest in the world, have been employed in the aforementioned, inhumane conditions together with other South Asian and African citizens, in the construction of the stadiums and structures that will host the next world cup of football between November and December 2022.
Therefore, being we italians excluded as a nation from the great football spectacle literally built on the suffering and blood of the poorest people in the world, for once we can consider ourselves relatively innocent.
For this reason, I take it for granted that the news of a possible repechage in the place of Iran – being aware of this scandal, should find us indifferent.
What am I saying? I mean proud and solid in declining any possible reintegration inside the competition.
Indeed, it could even turn into a favorable opportunity to shed light on the horrendous exploitation mentioned above.
I can already imagine the newspapers from all over the world after the press conference of our federation: the Italian national football team officially rejects the position left vacant by the Iranians to raise international awareness of the inhumane working conditions of immigrant citizens in Qatar and all over the Gulf.
Wow, on this scenario I start praying, rather than hoping, that Iran or whoever will be ousted in our favor...

Subscribe to Newsletter