News & Opinion | June 14, 2017 9:17 am

Deaths and Labor Abuses Reported at Russia’s World Cup Sites

17 workers have reportedly died during construction.

Construction workers walking to Zenit Arena Stadium, one of the venues for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
A view of the Zenit Arena Stadium on Krestovsky Island. The stadium is to become one of the venues of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Peter Kovalev/TASS (Photo by Peter KovalevTASS via Getty Images)

In June 2018, Russia will host soccer’s World Cup around the country in 12 stadiums and 11 cities — but a new Human Rights Watch report is giving a red card to the country’s preparation for the event.

The scathing report claims that the construction workers and laborers working to build these sites have been subjected to exploitative and abusive conditions, resulting in 17 of their deaths.

“FIFA is still in its post-corruption catharsis, but this feels, unfortunately, like more of the same,” Jane Buchanan, a researcher on Russia and author of the 34-page Human Rights Watch account told the Daily Beast, referencing FIFA’s 2015 scandal.

“It should be a wake-up call,” the Daily Beast quoted Ambet Yuson, the general secretary of a global builders trade union that tracked the casualties.

“They are coming from the experience in Sochi. They should learn from that. If you go back to Sochi, most of the accidents and fatalities happened toward the end of construction. They should know better by this time.”