Qatar World Cup
Foreign laborers work at the construction site of the al-Wakrah football stadium, one of the Qatar's 2022 World Cup stadiums, on 4 May 2015, in Doha's Al-Wakrah southern suburbsMARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Qatar has claimed that no migrant workers have died during construction of its World Cup 2022 stadiums.

In a statement directed to the Washington Post, which stated in an article that 4,000 workers are likely to die while working on Qatar's World Cup sites and an estimated 1,200 have already lost their lives, the Gulf state's news agency said the figures are "completely untrue".

"In fact, after almost five million work-hours on World Cup construction sites, not a single worker's life has been lost. Not one," it said.

The estimate had come from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) as the government of Qatar is refusing to share exact numbers. It is based on Indian and Nepalese figures.

The Qatar government's statement goes on to allege that the Post "took the total annual mortality figures for Indian and Nepalese migrants working in Qatar and multiplied those numbers by the years remaining between now and the 2022 World Cup" wrongly assuming that every death is World Cup related.

It also called on the Post to retract and correct the article considering the "enormous damage [that] has been done to Qatar's image and reputation".

Qatar World Cup 2022 Blatter
Activists from advocacy group Avaaz demonstrate near the Hallenstadion, where the 65th Fifa Congress will take place, in ZurichReuters

The Post has amended the article saying that the story "has been updated to reflect the fact that figures include total migrant worker deaths in Qatar, not just World Cup-related deaths".

The resignation of Fifa president Sepp Blatter has put the spotlight once again on the controversial triumph of Doha's World Cup bid in 2010.

Bookies have slashed the odds of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup after revelations that sponsorship deals linked to both the Qatar and Russia tournaments are being investigated by the FBI forced the embattled Fifa president to step down.

Blatter intensely lobbied for the Qatari bid despite all sort of opposition stemming from workers rights' violations, lack of football history in the Gulf nation and torrid temperatures on the pitch.

Many of the committee members that were involved in the decision to award Qatar and Russia the 2022 and 2018 World Cups have been forced to stand down in the face of corruption allegations even before the arrests of nine more Fifa executives last week.

The Gulf emirate nation came under intense scrutiny last year after investigations exposed the dire conditions of migrant workers, primarily Nepalese, who flock into one of the world's wealthiest nations to find jobs in construction. The spotlight has been put on the infamous kafala system which regulates the work structure.

According to the kafala, local citizens and companies have the power to issue official work visas and residency status to migrant workers. Most migrant workers go through recruitment agencies in their countries of origin in order to obtain a sponsor, usually paying high fees ranging from $700 to $3,500 (£440 to £2,200).

Employers view their employees as owned property and may engage in abusive actions such as seizing the migrants' passports and restricting their freedom of movement. An astonishing 90% of migrant workers in the country have had their passport confiscated by their employer.

This mistreatment amounts to a blatant breach of the right to freedom of movement, according to Amnesty International, which released a damning report in November 2014.

Since then, Qatar has implemented a wage protection scheme. At least 450 companies have been barred from working in the country and more than $6m (£3.8m) worth of fines have been given to firms mistreating workers.