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A security guard died after crashing in the World Cup final – why aren't there more answers?

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His name was John Njau Kibue.

He was a 24-year-old Kenyan and worked as a security guard at the Lusail Stadium, stage of the 2022 World Cup final.

He fell from a substantial height into 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 9 December.

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

His family was informed and, after receiving questions from the athletic and other media on Tuesday, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy released a statement confirming Kibue’s death.

“The Qatari tournament organizers are urgently investigating the circumstances leading to the crash and will provide further information pending the outcome of the investigation,” it said.

On Saturday, the Supreme Committee’s opening statement after he was taken to hospital struck a similar tone. “The host country is urgently investigating the circumstances,” he said.

However, more than a week later, with Argentina and France preparing to play 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 was discovered that a man – a Filipino man known as Alex, believed to be in his 40s – died at the training resort used by the Saudi Arabia team during the group stage.

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 “clap their hands” over the subject.

“We are in the middle of a World Cup and we are having a successful World Cup and is that something you want to talk about right now?” he said on Dec. 8.

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

There could very well be other workers who died in the last month, at the World Cup venues or in the city, and we may never know who they were or how they died.

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

Others died during the tournament as well. Three journalists – Khalid al-Misslam, Roger Pearce and Grant Wahl – died during the tournament and there are condolence books in the media areas for colleagues to pay their respects. A 62-year-old Welsh fan, Kevin Davies, also died in Qatar.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino might think that “fans just want to spend 90 minutes without thinking about anything else, forget about their problems and enjoy football”, but not everyone is that lucky.

A photo emerged of a young man who moved to Doha in November 2021 to support his family in Kenya.

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

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

“We heard he worked long hours. The clarity of how he fell is not coming out… We want justice.”

The use of ‘they’ appears to refer to the Supreme Committee, Kibue’s employers, Al Sraiya Security Services, and the Kenyan Embassy in Doha, who are aware of the incident and are assisting the authorities.

The Supreme Committee and Al Sraiya Security Services did not respond when asked by the athletic for an update on the “investigation” into the circumstances leading to Kibue’s downfall.

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

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

Lusail Stadium is a beautiful and delicate 89,000-seat venue that is particularly impressive when lit up at night in the style of a traditional Arabian lantern, a fanar.

It’s in a new suburb north of Doha, in an industrial setting with an avenue of restaurants and a space for families to stroll at dusk. Outside of a game day, however, it can hardly be described as bustling with activity.

As it prepared to host the World Cup final this week, security guards worked outside the stadium’s perimeter.

One worker said he knew Kibue but couldn’t talk about him. Another the next day said the same. A third said he also knew him but had been told not to speak.

Some work for the same company that Kibue worked for. Others spoke of separate incidents in Lusail that left workers needing medical treatment. They don’t know more about what happened to Kibue, or when his funeral might take place. They were all understandably nervous about speaking.

They also still have work to do on Sunday at a stadium where a teammate died in as-yet-unexplained circumstances.

Have security guidelines been revised? Have workers received new or updated guidance? Were they offered any support?

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

The “industrial crowd zone” was very busy on Wednesday, December 14th, when France faced Morocco in the second semi-final. This is a World Cup viewing area that is close to where many workers are housed in dormitories of four to 12 men at a time.

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

The men were enjoying watching Morocco’s progress and it seemed rude to intrude.

On the first Saturday of the tournament, November 26th, in the industrial fan zone, however, the athletic found that Kenyan workers are the most willing to share their experiences. Many of them arrived more recently than their counterparts from Bangladesh or Nepal and seemed more prepared to challenge working conditions and pay.

The industrial fan zone in Qatar

His criticisms were reserved most strongly for Kenyan companies that exploited workers with the misleading promise of large salaries in exchange for recruitment fees to travel to Qatar. They backed up their complaints with documents supporting their point of view.

After Kibue’s death, several of these workers sought the athletic detailing the security company that hired him and also asking questions about the circumstances of his death.

One of them, who preferred not to be identified to protect his job, said: “It’s really sad to see the sudden death of a young man just trying to get by in life. It really seems very strange to me. I really hope the authorities provide clear information.”

Asked whether workers believe in a transparent process, he added: “Not really. But I really feel that Kenyans here and at home are going to want answers.”

Additional contributor: Adam Leventhal

(Photo: Catherine Iville/Getty Images)

Further reading on the athletic🇧🇷