Twenty-four hours after Hassan Al Thawadi cleared the air on the interview he granted Pierce Morgan with regard to the number of deaths during the construction of World Cup facilities, Gianni Infantino, the President of world football governing body thumbed up for Qatar, describing the ongoing World Cup as ‘incredible’.
Infantino spoke to Aron Akeredolu of Arise TV on a day some soccer buffs in Qatar were marking the birthday of Amaju Pinnick, the erstwhile President of Nigeria Football Federation who is a FIFA Council member.
Asked about what he has seen so far in Qatar, Infantino said “it’s a great World Cup, it is peaceful, the public, the fans are crazy about the whole thing, it’s incredible. It is a World Cup that is uniting the world after Covid 19 and the global tension. I’m excited about the sense of unity the world is achieving through football.”
The FIFA President who jokingly chipped in that, “we miss Nigeria” commended African teams for their efforts so far. “Senegal have qualified for Round of 16 and Cameroun and Ghana still have chances of progressing.”
Amaju Pinnick also commended Qatar for what he described as “historic World Cup that may never happen again in our life time.”
He explained what he meant. “The quality of everything here – the facilities, the organisation – the world appreciates Qatar. The venues are within 50 kilometers and the longest you travel from one venue to another is about 30 minutes. Some are watching two matches in a day. It is a beautiful World Cup.”
He regretted that Nigeria failed to qualify for Qatar World Cup and apologised to Nigerian soccer fans for the failure.
Some hours before this, head of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, charged with the organisation of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Hassan Al-Thawadi said that his submission during an interview with British journalist, Pierce Morgan on work-related deaths during the construction of stadiums for the ongoing FIFA World Cup has been misconstrued and misrepresented by some western media.
The denial was necessitated by the impression created by the media after the Al-Thawadi’s interview with Pierce Morgan.
An article published November 29, 2022 by ISIDER titled ‘In denial? Qatar 2022 chief Al-Thawadi says construction deaths figure is 400-500 on all sites’ quoted Al-Thawad as having said on ‘Pierce Morgan Uncensored’ programme that “400-500 migrant workers have died as a result of work done on construction projects, and is sticking by the figure of just three work-related deaths on World Cup projects.”
Contrary to the report, the Qatar World Cup boss came out to put records straight by categorically saying, “No, I did not say so.”
In a statement by the Supreme Council for Delivery and Legacy published by Pierce Morgan, on his Twitter handle, Hassan Al-Thawadi repeated what he told Pierce Morgan: that there were only 3 work-related deaths and 37 non-work related deaths on the Supreme Council for Delivery & Legacy project.”
He emphasised that “This is documented on an annual basis in the Supreme Committee’s public reporting and covers the 8 stadiums, 17 non-competition ventures and other related sites under the Supreme Committee’s scope.”
The statement added, “Separate quotes regarding figures refer to national statistics covering the period of 2014 – 2020 for all work-related fatalities in Qatar were 414 nationwide, covering all sectors and nationalities.”