Gary Neville laments ‘STAGGERING’ living conditions for World Cup workers in Qatar


Gary Neville criticises Qatar for the first time as he laments the ‘STAGGERING’ living conditions for World Cup workers while on a tour of an accommodation facility… as he slams ‘inequality like you wouldn’t believe’

  • Gary Neville has criticised living conditions for workers at the Qatar World Cup
  • He said workers live in ‘portakabins with four curtains’ in a new Sky documentary
  • The former England man admitted he was also worried about the workers’ wages
  • Neville had previously questioned reports slating the conditions in Qatar 
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

Gary Neville displays visible shock at the living quarters for World Cup workers as he is shown around an official accommodation facility for a documentary to be screened on Sunday night.

Neville says: ‘It’s a portakabin with four curtains (screening off sleeping areas) and two lockers on each side. The wealth in this country and that level of accommodation for people, with the sacrifice they are making. It’s just inequality like you would not believe. It’s staggering really. This is not a home.’

Though Neville is shown around accommodation facilities that the World Cup Supreme Committee want him to see, the Mail on Sunday has reported on far more wretched quarters. At the Al-Sheehaniya in 2019, we found a stinking room into which ten Indian men were crammed, with children’s bunks for beds.

Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International insist that the true picture of life for workers behind Qatar’s furious 2022 building effort is not to be found near the stadiums ‘where visiting journalists go looking for evidence’ but out of the city.

Neville expresses serious concern about workers’ wages of $275 month, reduced to $55 a month after they send much of it home to families. He tells the documentary-makers: ‘I find it uncomfortable because when I buy a bowl of pasta and a beer or coffee, that’s a week’s wages.

‘If that was my son, my daughter, my brother, I would not want them to be in this position. The disparity is one of the largest gaps you will ever see and there’s no need for it because this is one of the wealthiest countries in the world.’

An accommodation official dismisses his concerns, insisting that workers can do overtime if they wish, earning time and a quarter on weekdays and time and a half at weekends.

England supporters heading to Qatar are set for a differing experience to home life this winter

Gary Neville was shown around accommodation facilities in a new Sky Sports documentary

Gary Neville was shown around accommodation facilities in a new Sky Sports documentary

Soulless metal buildings are being advertised as portakabins for fans that will stay in Qatar

Soulless metal buildings are being advertised as portakabins for fans that will stay in Qatar

Al Thawadi admits to Neville that there will discrimination if gay couples kiss in public during the tournament. 

When Neville asks if this will be a problem for Qatar, Al Thawadi replies: ‘It’s important to highlight first whether it’s a gay couple or otherwise. Public displays of affection are not part of our culture.’

Pressed on whether couples will be told to desist: Al Thawadi says: ‘Yes.’

Neville had previously downplayed the human rights issues in Qatar, questioning reports suggesting workers were dying because of the conditions.

After supporting Qatar’s controversial bid to host the World Cup this year, he said in a previously documentary: ‘Do we believe that on those sites, in front of Western project managers, workers are dying and they’re hiding it?

‘Are we really saying that’s happening? I find that difficult to believe because I’ve got more faith in people.’

Neville has visited Qatar on more than one occasion ahead of the World Cup this winter

Neville has visited Qatar on more than one occasion ahead of the World Cup this winter

Al Thawadi said in the original documentary that since 2020 only three workers had died of work-related causes, adding: ‘The number of 4,000 deaths is inaccurate.’

Afterwards, Mr Neville said in a voiceover: ‘There is a real struggle to find out what the real number is. But… we can’t disprove the number of three. And we certainly can’t prove the number of 4,000.’

Last year a Guardian analysis suggested 6,500 migrant workers had died in Qatar since 2010, when it was chosen to host the tournament. 

Construction is still taking place with the start of the tournament now just two months away

Construction is still taking place with the start of the tournament now just two months away

The former England defender twice turned down the opportunity to condemn Qatar’s treatment of women, gay people and migrants when asked by the Mail on Sunday.

He now seems to have changed his tune with the competition less than two months away. 

Countdown to Qatar, by Buzz 16 productions, screens Sunday at 9.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League.

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