World Cup 2022 and Qatar’s construction projects: Relational power in networks and relational responsibilities to migrant workers

By Pete Millward

In “World Cup 2022 and Qatar’s construction projects: Relational power in networks and relational responsibilities to migrant workers,” Peter Millward (Liverpool John Moores University, UK) explores the relational power and responsibilities to migrant workers on physical infrastructure projects in Qatar connected to the sovereign state hosting the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup 2022.

Currently, these construction workers operate under the Kafala system, which is upheld in Qatar. However, large numbers of Qatar’s visiting migrant construction workers were recorded as injured or killed through incidents that were related to their work. Further still, many other migrant workers reported poor, unsanitary living conditions and being ‘trapped’ by their Kafil with passports withheld or wages not forthcoming, prompting criticism from international non-governmental organizations.

This article adopts a relational sociological approach to discuss how ‘responsibilities’ for deaths, injuries and illnesses are passed between key actors that include the State of Qatar, FIFA, World Cup sponsors, building contractors and sub-contractors, and the recruitment agencies that find workers in other countries to work on the construction sites. As such, it makes three scholarly contributions: it leads in unpacking and discussing the treatment of migrant construction workers in World Cup 2022 infrastructure projects in Qatar; it follows work by Timms in adding to the literature on the passing of responsibilities for migrant workers between states and corporations in globalized societies; and it uses the case to further critically unpack Castells’ notions of relational power in networks.

The article is free to download here though the month of July


To discuss this research study please do not hesitate to contact Dr Pete Millward via email: or Twitter: @PeteMillward79


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