A security guard died after fall at World Cup final venue – why are there not more answers?

His name was John Njau Kibue.

He was a 24-year-old from Kenya and he worked as a security guard at the Lusail Stadium, the venue for the 2022 World Cup final.

He fell from a considerable height in the stadium – with some reports suggesting it was from the eighth floor – after Argentina beat the Netherlands on penalties in the quarter-finals on Friday, December 9.

He was treated for head, facial and pelvic injuries at Doha’s Hamad Medical Hospital and spent three days in intensive care before he died on Tuesday, 13 December.

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His family were informed and then, after receiving questions from The athletic and other media outlets Later on Tuesday, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy issued a statement confirming Kibu’s death.

“Qatar’s tournament organizers are investigating the circumstances leading to this case as a matter of urgency and will provide further information pending the outcome of the investigation,” it said.

On Saturday, the first statement from the Supreme Committee after it emerged that he had been taken to the hospital, struck a similar tone. “The host country is investigating the circumstances as a matter of urgency,” it said.

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But, more than a week on, with Argentina and France preparing to contest the final in the same stadium, there are still more questions than answers about how a second migrant worker died during the tournament.

Kibue’s death came a week after it emerged that a man – a Filipino known as Alex who is believed to be in his forties – died at the training resort used by the Saudi Arabian team during the group stage.

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Qatar World Cup chief executive Nasser Al Khater responded to a question about his death by telling reporters that “death is a natural part of life”, as well as saying that journalists should not “knock on” about the subject.

“We’re in the middle of a World Cup and we’ve had a successful World Cup and that’s something you want to talk about now?” He said on December 8.

Nasser Al Khater (Photo: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images)

There may be other workers who have died in the past month, on the World Cup sites or in the wider city, and we may never know who they are or how they died.

Human Rights Watch said the correct number of migrant worker deaths linked to the World Cup will never be known because “Qatari authorities have failed to investigate the causes of death of thousands of migrant workers, many of which are attributed to ‘ natural causes’.”

Others also died during the tournament. Three journalists – Khalid Al-Misslam, Roger Pearce and Grant Wall – died during the tournament and there are books of condolence in media areas for colleagues to pay their respects. A 62-year-old Wales supporter, Kevin Davies, also died in Qatar.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino may think “fans just want to spend 90 minutes without having to think about anything else, forget their problems and enjoy football”, but not everyone is so lucky.

A picture has emerged of a young man who moved to Doha in November 2021 to provide support for his family back in Kenya.

Kibue’s mother, Grace Nyambura, told CNN: “He used to tell me, Mom, you helped me when I was unemployed, I want to help you as much as I can, I know you are praying for me.”

“We are very heartbroken,” Kibue’s sister Anne Wanjiru told Kenya’s The Standard earlier this week. “We want answers on the circumstances of his death. We do not know where to start. It is very painful, they should help us.

“We hear that he worked for long hours. The clarity of how he fell is not out… We want justice.

The use of ‘they’ appears to refer to the Supreme Committee, Kibu’s employer Al Sraiya Security Services and the Kenyan Embassy in Doha, which is aware of the incident and assisting the authorities.

The Supreme Committee and Al Sraiya Security Services did not respond when requested by The athletic For an update on the “investigation” into the circumstances that led to Kibu’s fall.

The Supreme Committee’s statement on Saturday said Kibue will “continue to receive his salary in full while he receives medical care” and on Tuesday added: “We will also ensure that his family will receive all outstanding fees and monies.

“For us as a family – definitely, we want some answers,” Samuel Njau, Kibue’s uncle, told Reuters. “It was so unfortunate and devastating for us as a family.”

The Lusail Stadium is a beautiful, elegant-looking 89,000-seat area that is particularly stunning when lit up at night in the style of a traditional Arab lantern, a fanar.

It is in a new suburb to the north of Doha, set against an industrial backdrop with a boulevard of restaurants and a place for families to promenade at dusk. Other than a match, however, it could hardly be described as bustling with activity.

As it prepared to host the World Cup final this week, security guards were at work outside the perimeter of the stadium.

One worker said he knew Kibu but couldn’t talk about it. Another the next day said the same. A third said that he also knew him well but was told not to talk.

Some work for the same company as Kibue. Others talked about separate incidents in Lusail that left workers in need of medical treatment. They no longer know what happened to Kibu, or when his funeral might be. They are all understandably nervous about speaking.

They also have another job to do on Sunday in a stadium where a colleague died in still unexplained circumstances.

Has security guidelines been reviewed? Have workers come out with new or refreshed guidance? Have they offered any support yet?

The Supreme Committee and Al Sraiya Security Services did not respond to questions from The athletic.

The “industrial fan zone” was very busy on Wednesday, December 14, when France faced Morocco in the second semi-final. This is an area to watch World Cup matches that is close to where many laborers are housed in dormitories of between four and 12 people at a time.

This part of Doha is called Asian Town. It is not easily connected by the metro that carried supporters to and from stadiums and the city center during the World Cup, but it where many workers have consumed matches. They do not have the required “Hayya Card” permission to access other fan zones.

People enjoyed seeing the progress of Morocco and it felt rude to admit.

On the first Saturday of the tournament, November 26, in the Industrial Fan Zone, however, The athletic found Kenyan workers the most willing to share their experiences. Many of them had arrived more recently than their Bangladeshi or Nepalese counterparts and were more prepared to challenge working conditions and payments.

The industrial fan zone in Qatar

Their criticism was more strongly reserved for Kenyan companies that exploited the workers with the misleading promise of large salaries in return for recruitment fees to travel to Qatar. They back up their arguments with paperwork that proves their point.

After Kibu’s death, some of these workers reached The athletic Detailing the security company that employed him and also asking questions about the circumstances of his death.

One, who did not want to be named to protect his work, said: “It’s really sad to see such a sudden death of a young man who is just trying to make it in life. It seems very strange to me. I really hope that the authorities will come with clear information. “

Asked if the workers have faith in a transparent process, he added: “Not really. But I really feel that Kenyans here and at home will want answers.

Additional contributors: Adam Leventhal

(Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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