World Cup - Paper Round: Shocking new death toll of Qatar workers

The death toll of World Cup workers has reached shocking levels; Ray Wilkins is suffering from the same illness as Darren Fletcher; and Jonas Eriksson's decision to award Barcelona a penalty last night was correct - here are the main stories making headlines in this morning's papers.

Over 500 worker deaths in Qatar: A shocking report in The Guardian claims that more than 500 Indian migrant workers have died in Qatar since January 2012, revealing the scale of the death toll among those building the infrastructure for the 2022 World Cup.

The barely-believable rates come from official figures confirmed by the Indian embassy in Doha, off the back of the same newspaper revealing that at least 382 Nepalese workers had died in Qatar over the past two years.

The paper does note, however, that the Indian embassy "did not provide further details on who those individuals were, their cause of death or where they worked". But the report adds that analysis of the dead Nepalese workers showed that more than two-thirds died of sudden heart failure or workplace accidents.

Paper Round's view: 'Shocking' does not quite do this report justice. If the figures are indeed in some way related to the building of World Cup infrastructure, how on earth can FIFA not get involved and at the very least lead the demands for conditions to be improved?

There were few reasons for awarding the tournament to Qatar in the first place, but these revelations surely take the lead in the argument against staging the World Cup there.

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Wilkins reveals illness, rebuts drink allegations: Sacked Fulham assistant manager Ray Wilkins has revealed he is suffering from the same debilitating chronic bowel disease as Darren Fletcher. The Daily Mail reports that Wilkins felt he had to set the record straight following allegations about drinking on the train to Craven Cottage ahead of last Wednesday's home defeat to Liverpool - a result that led to the dismissal of manager Rene Meulensteen and his backroom staff. Wilkins told the paper that his medical condition can give him the "woozy" appearance of being drunk but the report claims 'Fulham insiders' said that Wilkins had not been in "the best shape" for work on other occasions, and that Meulensteen's subsequent toleration was one of the contributing factors to his exit from the club after just 13 Premier League games.

Paper Round's view: The report mentions Wilkins' previous conviction for drink driving but in no way should that be used as some kind of proof of these latest allegations. As Wilkins himself says, if he was indeed drunk after his train trip from Birmingham - where he had been watching Fulham's U21as play Aston Villa - to London, then surely owner Shahid Khan and chief executive Alistair Mackintosh would have realised when they met him prior to kick-off at Craven Cottage? And, again as Wilkins acknowledges, they would have been within their rights to sack him on the spot.

Read the full story.

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Poll says Barcelona ref was right: There is plenty of focus on the referee from last night's Manchester City-Barcelona clash in today's papers, not least after Manuel Pellegrini's inflammatory comments about the Swedish official's performance. But Jonas Eriksson has support from at least one man: former ref Graham Poll, who in his Daily Mail column claims that the decision to award a penalty and send off Martin Demichelis was spot on. "In my opinion contact continued until at least the line marking the penalty area and further, meaning awarding a penalty was a correct decision," Poll wrote. He added: "To further support the referee’s decision there was a second touch, this time from Demichelis’s trailing leg, and that was definitely inside the penalty area."

Paper Round's view: These kind of issues can be debated until the cows come home and you either sit on one side of the fence or the other. Poll, it should be acknowledged, is a former referee of huge experience, and his arguments should carry more weight than the average over-reacting Manchester City fan. Yet still, Poll's view is unlikely to be universally accepted - certainly not in Pellegrini's office this morning.

Read the full story.

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Toon smack down wrestling link: Newcastle have dampened talk that a wrestling tycoon is set to buy out Mike Ashley in a sensational £300 million takeover. It had been reported that billionaire Vince McMahon - the chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment - is ready to move into English football, but "Toon insiders" insist St. James' Park will not be his chosen venue, reports the Daily Star. And those same sources have indicated that Ashley is not ready to sell up, despite his unpopularity with Newcastle fans.

Paper Round's view: Newcastle fans must be caught in a quandary over this - on the one hand, they'd love to see Ashley out and a billionaire in his place, but equally, do they want to invite mockery by being owned by the winner of the 1999 Royal Rumble? Still, he can't be any worse than his namesake Vincent Tan, Assem Allam or, indeed Ashley himself. Can he?

Read the full story.

And here's what a Newcastle team might look like if Mr McMahon (his 'ring name') does take over at St. James.