Doha before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Football stars, famous musicians and football fans refused to travel to the World Cup in Qatar because of its scandal. Why the World Cup in Qatar began to cause dissatisfaction among many – about this in the material of RBC

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Doha before the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup

(Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

The World Cup in Qatar became one of the most scandalous in history long before the opening match. The election of the organizers of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups took place in Zurich on December 2, 2010, when FIFA was headed by Sepp Blatter.

As a result of voting, the 2018 world championship for the first time went to Russia, and 2022 to Qatar. This caused outrage from England and the United States, which claimed the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively. In particular, the United States fought against Qatar until the last, fourth round and lost with a score of 8:14.

How Qatar bought votes in the 2022 World Cup elections

A year later, the first corruption scandal broke out in FIFA. Qatari Vice President Mohamed bin Hammam (head of the Asian Football Confederation) and Trinidadian Jack Warner (President of CONCACAF) were involved in buying votes in the 2011 presidential election.

The Qatari functionary called his case political, as he claimed the presidency. As a result, he was suspended even before the elections, and a few months later he was deprived of the right to engage in football activities for life.

In the course of the case, Jack Warner accused bin Hammam of buying votes in the 2022 World Cup elections. In response, bin Hammam reported on Warner’s bribery.

In particular, Warner published correspondence with FIFA Secretary General (at that time) Jérôme Valcke. During the correspondence, Valke wrote: “[Хаммам] thought he could buy FIFA like they bought the World Cup.”

In response to the publication of the correspondence, Valcke stated that he was not talking about “buying votes.” “I would like to clarify that I can use a less formal tone in email,” Valke said in a statement.

“When I referred to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in this email, I meant to say that the winning bid used its financial power to lobby for support. They had a large budget, which they used to actively promote their application around the world, he added. “I have never made and never intend to make any reference to any vote-buying or similar unethical behavior.”

However, in 2014 The Sunday Times published an article alleging that Mohamed bin Hammam gave out more than $5 million in bribes to senior football officials in order to win votes in favor of Qatar.

The article stated:

  • Bin Hammam, who had the right to vote in the elections, organized a series of banquets for African football officials, at which he distributed almost $ 400 thousand in cash;
  • transferred $1.6 million to the account of Jack Warner, former member of the FIFA executive committee from Trinidad and Tobago. Half of the amount was transferred just before the elections;
  • transferred $800,000 to the Ivory Coast Football Federation;
  • bribes from bin Hammam were received by 30 presidents of national African federations, who determined how four members from their confederation were to vote.

Also in 2014 The Daily Telegraph reportedthat Warner’s sons received $1 million from the Qatari company.

Mass arrests of FIFA leaders

In May 2015, a couple of days before the FIFA presidential election, the Swiss police, together with the US authorities, arrested a number of leaders of the organization. This marked the beginning of the biggest corruption scandal in the history of sports. In 2015, a total of dozens of high-ranking football officials were detained. Only 16 of the 22 members of the executive committee with the right to vote in the 2018/2022 World Cup elections were on trial in the FIFA corruption case. As a result of the scandal, the entire FIFA leadership, headed by President Sepp Blatter, who had led the organization since 1998, lost their posts.

In 2019 surfaced details of the contract of the Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera with FIFA. It included an unprecedented fee of $100 million, which could only be paid by the company if Qatar won the elections. About it reported Bonita Merciades and The Sunday Times, Member of the Australian Bid Committee for the 2018/2022 World Cup. Edition also reported about additional payments in the amount of $480 million.

Besides knownthat during the election campaign Qatar 2022 sponsored the congress of the African Football Confederation, gaining access to senior leadership before the elections. The Qataris also forged partnerships with the heads of the federations of Brazil and Argentina, organizing a match between these national teams in Doha just two weeks before the elections.

AT report The FBI notes that three South American officials received payments for votes in favor of Qatar – former president of the South American Football Confederation Nicholas Leos, former head of the Argentine federation Julio Grondona and former head of the Brazilian confederation Ricardo Ticheira, who died during the investigation. This information was confirmed at the court session by the Argentinean Alejandro Bursaco, guilty in the case of fraud with the media rights of the world championships. About Ticheira wine also says in the FIFA investigation.

“Sarkozy is involved in the victory of Qatar in the elections of the 2022 World Cup”

Blatter has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the choice of Qatar. And after his removal, he accused the former vice-president of the organization and the head of UEFA, Michel Platini, of fraud in the 2022 World Cup elections in favor of this Arab country. “We actually agreed at the executive committee that Russia should receive the 2018 World Cup, and the United States – the 2022 World Cup. Thanks to the four votes of Platini and his team [УЕФА] The World Cup went to Qatar, not the USA.” said Blatter to the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.

According to the Swiss, Platini did it under pressure from French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“Platini told me that he was invited to the Elysee Palace, where French President Sarkozy had just dined with the Crown Prince of Qatar,” said the former FIFA president. – Sarkozy told Platini: “Look what you and your colleagues from UEFA can do for Qatar in the World Cup elections.” I then asked him: “So what?” He replied: “What would you do if the president asked you?”

“Of course, money played an important role here. Six months later, Qatar bought fighter jets from France for $14.6 billion,” Blatter added.

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More than 5 thousand deaths at World Cup facilities

The topic of vote buying faded into the background amid accusations by the Qatari authorities and the leadership of the organizing committee of the 2022 World Cup of massive human rights violations.

What are they accused of?

  • persecution of sexual minorities;
  • violation of women’s rights;
  • unbearable working conditions at the facilities of the 2022 World Cup.

Human rights organization Amnesty International (Ministry of Justice in April expelled from the register of branches and representative offices of international organizations) in 2016 reported unbearable conditions for migrants and forced labor. In a report by Amnesty International dated November 11, 2022 approvedthat the situation has not changed over the years. Migrants work 18-hour days, “they can’t change jobs, can’t leave the country, and often wait months for a paycheck.”

Main violations:

  • massive extortion from recruiters to get a job – from $500 to $4.3 thousand, while, for example, the average salary at the Khalifa stadium is $220 per month;
  • false information on working conditions when hiring: the salary was often half as much in fact, and the amount of work was different;
  • threats from employers due to complaints about conditions and delayed wages;
  • travel bans outside the labor camp and Qatar.

Mass death of migrant workers

By message Guardian, in 2010-2020, about 6.5 thousand migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka died in Qatar. This information is based on countries’ data on lost citizens. At the same time, the publication believes that there may be more deaths, since African countries, for example, did not provide information.

In response, the government of Qatar declaredthat not all reported deaths were due to work at facilities for the World Cup. The statement noted that many may have died of old age or other natural causes. Authorities estimate that between 2014 and 2020, 37 people died at the facilities, of which only three were due to accidents during work hours.

However, the International Labor Organization (ILO) named these numbers are grossly underestimated because they do not include death from heart attacks and respiratory failure caused by hard work at very high temperatures. The report says that in 2021 alone, 50 migrants died, more than 500 were seriously injured, and 37,600 were moderately and mildly injured. These organizations are based on statistics from public hospitals and ambulance services.

Due to reports of massive human rights violations, a number of well-known musicians withdrew from the tournament. The official fan clubs of the European teams also announced that they would not go to the World Cup. And European cities, including Paris, abandoned the fan zones traditionally organized during the World and European Championships.

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Fake fans

To improve the image of the organizers suggested leading national team fans free travel with tickets, subject to positive feedback about Qatar and the absence of criticism. There were more than a hundred such fans.

Also, to improve the image, the organizing committee paid for videos with joyful fans of different teams during their stay in Qatar. However, this had the opposite effect. The videos became an occasion for mockery of the organizing committee, since all the fans, regardless of the team they represented, looked like representatives of the South Asian region.

Sudden beer ban

In Qatar, it is only allowed to sell alcoholic beverages in hotel restaurants. Earlier it was reported that during the World Cup, the sale of alcoholic beverages would be allowed within the security perimeter outside the stadium, but not inside the stadium bowls themselves.

However, a week before the start of the World Cup, the authorities changed the rules. As a result, the official beer supplier Budweiser had to hastily remove their pouring points, which were installed over the course of a month. How informedand the New York Times, citing anonymous sources, said the changes are related to the decree of the Qatari authorities, who asked to move the dots to less “obtrusive places.”

But two days before the start of the tournament it became known about a complete ban on the sale of beer on the territory of the stadium.

FIFA statement on the ban on the sale of beer at World Cup stadiums

“Following negotiations between the host country authorities and FIFA, it has been decided to focus the sale of alcoholic beverages at the FIFA Fan Fest, other fan destinations and licensed venues, removing beer outlets from the perimeter of the Qatar Stadium, which will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. This will not affect the sale of non-alcoholic beer, which will remain available in all World Cup stadiums in Qatar.

The authorities of the host country and FIFA will continue to ensure that stadiums and surrounding areas provide a respectful and enjoyable experience for all fans. The tournament organizers appreciate AB InBev’s understanding and continued support of our shared commitment to satisfy everyone during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.”

Budweiser reacts to beer ban in 2022 World Cup stadiums

Photo: Tom Weller / dpa / Global Look Press

Thus, beer is allowed to be sold only in fan zones, which are located on the outskirts of cities. How will this affect the relationship between Anheuser-Busch InBev, which owns the Budwieser brand, and FIFA? After all, for the four-year cycle dedicated to the 2022 World Cup, the company paid $75 million to FIFA.

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