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(NEW YORK) – As the World Cup games are underway, human rights activists and others have protested the games and Qatari officials, saying they are human rights issues for the hundreds of workers working for the last couple on site were from months.

According to some activists, everyone from construction workers to hotel workers was allegedly forced to work long hours in the heat for little pay and, in some cases, subtle threats.

Grant Wahl, a veteran sportswriter who has covered football for various outlets including sports illustratedinvestigated some of these allegations and reported that many workers were being subjected to unfair conditions.

Wahl, who hosts the podcast Fútbol with Grant Wahl, spoke to ABC News’ Start Here on Monday about what he found upon arriving in Qatar.

START HERE: Grant, unlike many journalists who flew to Qatar last week, you spent time there earlier this year amidst these construction projects. Why would you want to look at a bunch of empty stadiums and hotels?

WARRANTY: I knew I was going to the World Cup, coming here and securing myself. After the tournament starts, I would concentrate fully on football. But before that I wanted to do a story and tell something about the issue of migrant workers in Qatar. Almost 90% of the workforce in Qatar are non-Qatari. They come from East Africa, West Africa, the Indian subcontinent [and] The Far East. And they take jobs in construction, work in households and houses, hotel workers [and] all sorts of things migrant workers do in Qatar. But the story is that they don’t get paid well. You are not treated well. Many people have died.

Human rights organizations that study this stuff very closely say Qataris really don’t care, and they’ve shown they don’t care [not] trying to figure out why people died. The vast majority of deaths are classified as natural causes only. But of course Qatar is extremely hot all year round.

There are many deaths among migrant workers due to the heat and the body’s reactions to it.

Under pressure, the Qatari government has passed new laws. They were announced in 2019 and the Qatari government made a fuss about it, saying we’d ended this “kafala” system, where employers are allowed to keep their migrant workers’ passports, and essentially bar them from leaving the country even if they do You are treated badly. So a minimum wage was introduced.

Workers were no longer allowed to pay recruitment fees, either in their country or in Qatar, to get to Qatar and get a job there. After the announcement of these new laws, workers were allowed to change jobs within Qatar for the first time without having to leave and come back.

But what I did on the floor; I decided to go to 14 FIFA hotels and speak to at least one staff member in each FIFA hotel and grant them anonymity and really find out what their experience was and if these laws were being followed on the ground in Qatar.

As I spoke to more and more workers, and I spoke to almost two dozen at all of these 14 different FIFA hotels, it quickly became clear that many of these new laws are not being followed. Some of the workers I spoke to did not have their passports.

START HERE: Holding your passport as if to say, “Follow what we tell you or you won’t come home”? Is that the implication there?

CHOICE: Right. You literally cannot leave the country without your passport and there is an element of freedom with that.

A bunch, including someone from the hotel where the US team is staying in Qatar, told me they had to pay hefty recruitment fees to get into the country, which they owe from the moment they get there would. One thing that seemed to be followed was the new minimum wage, which I found interesting. But keep in mind that the new minimum wage is about $1.25 an hour.

START HERE: But the question then is… what is the responsibility of everyone who participates? The US recently hosted a nice friendly with some migrant workers, almost to say, “See you guys,” but what about all of us at home? I’ve seen people think about boycotting these games. Do you think people will connect the dots between these topics they hear about in the news and the game they love on their screen?

CHOICE: So the US English language broadcaster of this World Cup is Fox Sports and they’ve said publicly that we’re not going to cover any of these so-called controversial issues like the situation of migrant workers in Qatar or LGBTQ rights or women’s rights, which are all things that the US -Football, by the way, enlightens its players and takes the time to think about it, and many other journalistic media are discussing it. And so, not only for this World Cup, but previously when the 2018 World Cup was held in Russia, Fox decided that they wouldn’t touch that. And that’s certainly a decision they made.

If people, fans, in the US decide to boycott the World Cup and not see it, I understand.

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