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Qatar stadium architect Zaha Hadid cans BBC Today interview after worker death questioning


By John McCarthy, Opinion Editor

September 24, 2015 | 3 min read

Award-winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid cut short an interview with Radio 4 after being questioned on mortalities during the construction of the Qatar World Cup stadium she designed.

A Radio 4 interview discussing Zaha receiving a 2016 Riba Royal Gold Medal was drawn to an abrupt close after Today programme presenter Sarah Montague enquired about worker conditions in Qatar, quoting an ITUC figure that an estimated 1,200 workers have died constructing the World Cup infrastructure.

Hadid, the designer of the Al-Wakrah stadium for the 2022 World Cup abruptly, said: “There haven’t been any problems; I have to put you right, there.”

Montague enquired: “More than 1,200 migrant workers have died there?”

To which Hadid responded: "There’s no deaths on our site whatsoever, you should check your information before you say anything.

“It is absolutely untrue; there are no deaths on our site whatsoever. I sued someone in the press for it. And they had to withdraw and apologise. You should check your facts.”

The interview then moved away from Qatar to Hadid's canned Tokyo Olympic stadium design which sparked her exit from the interview, “let’s stop this conversation right now," she said before leaving Montague with dead air to fill.

Listen to the full interview below.

In response to the ITUC figures the Qatar government issued a statement claiming: "In fact, after almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker’s life has been lost."

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