Migrant workers work 14-hour shifts in 30C heat to fill £180-a-night World Cup cabins
REVEALED: Migrant workers work 14-hour shifts in 30-degree heat to fill £180-a-night cabins in Qatar, with fan accommodation STILL under construction despite World Cup running smoothly
- A third of the Free Zone complex is still under construction in Doha, Qatar
- Migrant workers received incentives to complete the last cabins
- Workers work 14-hour shifts in scorching heat to complete housing
- Completed cabins are extremely basic considering the cost of £180 per night
Most of the £180-a-night cabins marketed to World Cup fans are still being consolidated, with migrant workers on 14-hour shifts to fill them in, Sportsmail can reveal.
A third of the Free Zone complex was still under construction on Monday, with some cabanas still unfurnished. Lead-free toilets were piled outside as workers hammered and drilled together beds and cheap flat cabinets to furnish them.
Two Indian migrant workers, who earn just £25 a day, said site bosses were offering additional £25 ad hoc bonuses to encourage them to work faster to complete the job.
Migrant workers worked 14-hour shifts to complete construction of World Cup accommodation
Many £180-a-night cabins marketed to World Cup fans are still incomplete
A third of the Free Zone complex was still under construction on Monday
Working in the 30°C (86°F) heat, one said: ‘They tell us, ‘Hurry up, hurry up’. They will pay the premium for four workers to install things – laying the carpets (between the huts), installing the air conditioning or the lights.
“They say they want it done in five days and no one is allowed to leave this job to go anywhere else.”
He also said he worked from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a one-hour break.
The unfurnished hulls – blocks M to P of the complex – have been marked on the site plan at the entrance to the sprawling complex and appear to be part of the twin cabins marketed for £172 a night. Unpacked air conditioning units, bed frames and wardrobes were stacked outside these units, in the northern area of the sprawling complex near Hamad International Airport in Doha.
It was a frenetic work scene, with road rollers compressing tar and stone on the desert sand and workers carrying pipes to hook up mobile air conditioning units. The urgent need was obvious.
Workers worked hard in scorching heat to complete unfinished cabins as fans continue to arrive for the tournament
While the workers worked hard, hundreds of supporters wheeled their suitcases to the venue and lined up 10 deep at the dozen check-in counters.
These fans were directed to the cabins which had been fitted out – but even in these areas there was still work to be completed on the communal toilets, which were closed.
Furnished cabins, seen by Sportsmail, are extremely basic for the price. A hose from the mobile air conditioning units is routed through a hole in the wall and the same tap is used to run the water for the toilet and shower. Meanwhile, electric fans provide additional ventilation.
The race to get those units furnished, with the tournament already underway, comes three months after Sportsmail found the site totally deserted during a daytime visit.
It mirrors the scene across Doha, where migrant workers lay sod, scrub public seats, lay paving and dozens of other tasks in a last-minute commute to create a temporary impression of perfection. Three of the free zone cabin attendants said the huts were only there for the duration of the World Cup. “They are then shipped to Africa,” he said.
Speaking to the Free Zone website on Monday, Wales supporter Dev Wilkins said of his cabin: “It’s just a bit ugly.” There was a layer of dust on the bedroom wall and a piece of tape sticking to the toilet tank.
Cabin attendants claimed some of the accommodation would be shipped to Africa after the tournament
“A Dutch fan knocked on the door last night asking how to get the toilet water to work. Using the shower tap for the toilet is not easy.
“It’s like everything was thrown together. You’d usually expect much better quality for £180, but after all the horror stories, it’s probably not as bad as I thought.
Some of the food units also remain unfurnished wooden shells, though a dozen of them are open and commercial.
One of the most striking parts of the resort is the lack of shade from the sun. For example, the cushions arranged in front of the big screen in the deserted central complex offered no shade.
Fans who had already arrived were at tables placed in the shade provided by booths and catering units.
Sportsmail asked the company operating the site, Qatari property developer Al Emadi, whether the unfinished cabins had been sold and when they would be completed. They didn’t answer.