Working conditions for African workers at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar have long been the focus of international criticism. Excessively long working hours, low wages and very poor health care for migrant workers were violations of international labour law.
German TV reports 15.000 deaths
According to the German Television Channel ZDF, more than 15,000 migrant workers, involved in the construction of the World Cup Arenas, have died. That would mean that every single World Cup match in Qatar this November and December costs 234 lives. Most of the workers come from African countries. Many others are from South Asian countries like the Philippines or Indonesia.
The Qatari government has so far failed to fully investigate the deaths. It has also failed to compensate the families. Many of them have lost their main breadwinners, leaving them in dire poverty in their home countries. The names of all the people who have died since 2010 have not been published yet.
ITUC-Africa reports improved working conditions
However, according to the African regional organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa), the Gulf country has significantly improved the working conditions and rights of all workers. Qatar has only recently amended its labour laws. For example, it is now possible to change jobs without the consent of the current employer.
“Kafala” has been the main problem
The country still struggles with the system of worker sponsorship known as kafala. It ties workers to the job they were first hired for for a certain period of time before they are allowed to change jobs. In other words: a kind of modern slavery.
According to the union’s general secretary, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, the reforms have also “led to improved health and safety requirements at construction sites and wherever temperatures exceed a certain level”.
Even as a child, I used to bet on the results of the Bundesliga with my friends at school. Back then, the stakes were still modest: Lunch, a few marbles or maybe even a milk jug. When I was 9 years old, I once played the German "Elferwette" (1x2 tips in 11 German games) - and got 10 right the first time.
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By Max Stargard
Even as a child, I started typing the results of the Bundesliga with my friends at school. The stakes were modest back then: The lunch, a few marbles or maybe a milk slice. Then, at the age of 9, I played the penalty bet once - and immediately got 10 right. The previous week I had won 500 DM and in my childish imagination I was already imagining how many football pictures I could buy at the kiosk on the corner. Unfortunately, it was one of those match days when everything turned out as expected and I only won DM 8.10. Nevertheless, I followed the game with great interest.
Nevertheless, the passion to correctly predict the outcome of sporting events haunted me for the rest of my life. I would have loved to own the sports almanac that Marty McFly bought in Back to the Future II.
Much later, when I was already working as a journalist for newspapers and as a writer for television, I came across an international betting forum with over 100,000 members - and found out that a lot of people there were giving their tips on German football, but nobody seemed to have a real clue, so I wrote a few English-language preliminary reports with a few tips - and was right about everything. After that, an avalanche started. I got offers from bookmakers, sports papers and even betting syndicates to work for them - and I accepted a few of them too, experiencing the ups & downs of sports betting and travelling halfway around the world in the years that followed. There I met Chinese multimillionaires betting five to six figures, amateur players in Serbia or Turkey supporting their families with small stakes, South Africans gambling away half their fortune, Brazilians who could only leave their favelha and become rich by making the right tips. At one point my life was similar to Matthew McCaughaney's in the film Two For The Money - and far too much stress.
I subsequently moved to another continent and ran an English-language football epaper about the Bundesliga from there. After the birth of my son, I devoted myself for many years only to artistic projects in the field of photography and literature. However, I am happy to share my knowledge and passion with the readers of bettingtipsafrica.
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