Qatar 2022 World Cup stadium
The Doha Port stadium is one of the grounds proposed for the Qatar 2022 World Cup Getty

A German television crew who were arrested in Qatar while filming a documentary about the 2022 World Cup did not have the necessary permits to film, according to authorities.

A reporter, cameraman sound engineer and a driver from broadcaster WDR were detained as they filmed migrant workers in the capital of Doha.

They were held for five days and had their camera equipment, notebooks and mobile phones confiscated.

The crew were to film an investigation about the 2022 World Cup over concerns about how workers being used to build the stadiums are being treated.

The Guardian reported in September how dozens of Nepali workers had died in the summer heat after not been given enough food and water.

The Qatari World Cup event's organising committee, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, denied the reports claiming the team had been arrested because they were attempting to expose the working conditions of the World Cup or allegations of corruption, but because they did not have a full permit to film.

"Any media outlet wishing to film in Qatar requires a film permit to do so, as is common in many countries," a spokesperson said. "Any working journalist who has visited Qatar will be aware of this process and understand filming in specific locations without permission runs the risk of legal repercussions."

WDR said its team had tried for weeks to obtain such a permit. It said: "They were not allowed to leave Qatar for five days until the foreign minister approved their exit. Their camera equipment, notebooks and personal cell phones were confiscated and only returned four weeks later. All data was deleted and parts of the equipment damaged."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has said Qatar must do more to protect those working to build the stadiums in time for the 2022 World Cup.