World Cup chief says that 'death is a natural part of life' when asked about latest migrant worker death
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World Cup chief executive Nasser al-Khater has been slammed for his ‘heartless’ response to a migrant worker’s death at the tournament.
The Guardian reports that a Filipino worker who had been contracted to fix lights at the training site of the Saudi Arabian national team had died after slipping off a ramp while walking alongside a vehicle.
Al-Khater was questioned about the incident by reporters in Qatar, however, rather than extend his condolences and leave it at that, he questioned why journalists were being persistent on the matter.
Jesus Christ! 🤦🏻♂️— othernine (@othernine) December 8, 2022
“Death is a natural part of life, whether it’s at work or in your sleep…” pic.twitter.com/7YPfNnP2do
He told reporters: “We’re in the middle of a World Cup.
“And we have a successful World Cup. And this is something you want to talk about right now?
"I mean, death is a natural part of life, whether it's at work, whether it's in your sleep.
“Of course, a worker died. Our condolences go to his family. However, I mean, it is strange that this is something you want to focus on as your first question."
He then claimed that the 6,500 migrant worker deaths in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, as reported by The Guardian, was a ‘false narrative’.
He continued: “Look, workers’ deaths have been a big subject during the World Cup. Everything that has been said and everything that has been reflected about workers’ deaths has been absolutely false.
“We’re a bit disappointed that the journalists have been exacerbating this false narrative. And honestly, I think a lot of the journalists have to ask themselves and reflect on why they’ve been trying to bang on about the subject for so long.”
Human Rights Watch spokesperson Rthna Begum immediately condemned the comments.
They said: “The Qatari official’s comment displays a callous disregard for the migrant worker who has died.
“His statement that deaths happen and that it’s natural when it does, ignores the truth that many migrant worker deaths were preventable.”
The sentiment was similarly shared online with many quite in shock by the comments.
Nick Harris from Sporting Intel tweeted: “This is such a terrible, terrible look for Nasser Al Khater. Makes him look like a cold, heartless b*****d who isn't used to any degree of accountability.”
The Athletic’s Jack Pitt-Brooke wrote: “This is an almost - but not quite - unbelievable response from World Cup chief exec Nasser Al Khater.”
While Human Rights Watch’s Andrew Stroehlein called it ‘extreme callousness’.
CNN reports that the migrant worker’s death is being investigated.
SPORTbible has reached out to the Qatar World Cup committee for comment.