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Artist Drops 6500 Deflated Balls Outside Of FIFA HQ In Protest 6500 Migrant Worker Deaths

Ryan Sidle

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Artist Drops 6500 Deflated Balls Outside Of FIFA HQ In Protest 6500 Migrant Worker Deaths

A German artist has joined the protests against the World Cup being held in Qatar, by leaving 6500 deflated footballs outside of FIFA headquarters in Switzerland.

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There have been many voices against holding the World Cup in Qatar since the middle eastern country were awarded the tournament in December 2010.

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Gareth Southgate recently added more noise to the issues recently, saying it was a 'shame' that some England fans wouldn't travel for the tournament, due to LGBTQ+ rights, and was then warned to 'pick his words carefully.'

Another reason for dissenting voices has been the country's general human rights record when it comes to migrant workers in the country.

According to some statistics, 6500 migrant workers have lost their lives working in construction in the past 12 years, with some of those building the stadiums that will be used.

German artist Volker-Johannes Trieb has placed a deflated football to signify each of the lives lost and called on people to boycott Qatar this winter.

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Speaking about the incident, the 55-year-old told German outlet 11freunde, "I wanted to send a few pictures around the world and commemorate the many dead migrant workers who lost their lives on the stadium construction sites in the World Cup host country Qatar under inhumane conditions. 

"With the huge number of balls, I also wanted to make the gigantic number of fatalities visible."

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The 6500 number comes from an article by the Guardian last year and the number is thought to have grown since then, something Trieb acknowledged.

"Amnesty International now speaks of more than 15,000 victims. This is a huge number that at first glance seems almost unbelievable. 

"But these people didn't all fall off the scaffolding, they died in a variety of ways. Some had simply sustained injuries that would never, ever have died in Germany. 

"Unfortunately, the medical care for foreign migrant workers in Qatar is so catastrophic that they didn't stand a chance."

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Volker-Johannes Trieb at a previous exhibition. Image: PA Images
Volker-Johannes Trieb at a previous exhibition. Image: PA Images

On the warning to Southgate, the artist added, "I have spoken to human rights organizations from Bangladesh myself. A coffin from Qatar arrives there almost every day. 

"The whole world now knows what's going on. But he just looks away."

Homoesexuality between two men is illegal in Qatar but FIFA had said that fans would be able to take rainbow flags into stadiums during the tournament, to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.

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However, on Friday, one official claimed that flags may be taken off fans for their 'own safety.'

Featured Image Credit: DW Sports

Topics: Football World Cup, Qatar

Ryan Sidle
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