Demands to transfer the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup tournament from Qatar to another country

There are demands to transfer the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup match from Qatar to another country in the presence of a report obtained particularly by Fox News, which highlights doubts on the integrity of the tiny Gulf state’s reporting of COVID-19 cases.

The London-based Cornerstone Global Associates indicated in its report: An internal memo… conducted by a leading construction company in Qatar working on FIFA World Cup projects raised concerns that many of its laborers who were infected, died, but were not reported as COVID deaths.

The report also mentioned that the concerns raised are in line with concerns about the clear discrepancy between the number of infections and the mortality rate. The internal memo referred to the repatriation of the bodies of the deceased to their native Nepal and India. This practice goes against the recommendation by various health authorities around the world. This also suggests that the Qatari authorities have been misreporting COVID-19 deaths, thereby misleading the global healthcare community.

The document that contains 10 pages and it is titled “COVID-19: Will FIFA World Cup 2022 goes ahead in Qatar? declared that by the middle of August 2020, Qatar has suffered the world’s highest coronavirus infection rate in the world per head of population.

Nevertheless, Cornerstone reported that Qatar claims only 201 deaths from Coronavirus, suggesting a mortality rate of 0.17%. Cornerstone’s health experts questioned the reliability of the Qatar death figures, as a mortality rate of 0.17% seems grossly under-estimated.

Qatar has suffered at least 216 total deaths and 126,339 total cases, according to John Hopkins University that follows COVID-19 infections and deaths by country. It should be noted that the population of Qatar is estimated to be about 2.8 million, and the most are foreign workers.

Cornerstone that has a health care portfolio has provided the past consultancy services to the World Health Organization and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. It has followed the Qatar FIFA 2022 since it was given to the Gulf country in 2010.

Whereas, the foreign ministry of Qatar and embassies in Washington, Brussels, and Berlin didn’t respond to the request of Fox News’ for giving comments. The report of Cornerstone leads the Islamist regime in Doha, which is the capital of the gas-rich country, into a new crisis. The regime of Qatar has faced claims that it provided corruption to FIFA officials to secure the World Cup.

In fact, the US Department of Justice issued in April 2020 a statement, claiming that the three South American members of FIFA’s 2010 executive committee, the late Nicolas Leoz, then president of South American soccer’s governing body CONMEBOL, then-Brazil Football Federation president Ricardo Teixeira, and an unnamed co-conspirator, accepted bribes to vote for Qatar to host the 2020 event.

The report also highlighted the exploitation of Qatar of foreign workers building stadiums. Qatar recently built new, state-of-the-art hospital facilities; however they are prohibited to the majority of the population, who are workers from the Indian subcontinent.

In fact, a report of Amnesty International for 2019 showed in details the situation of thousands of workers being exploited by the Qatari monarchy although appeals to end the allegedly inhuman labor practices.                 

The page 52 of the document titled All Work, No Pay: The struggle of Qatar’s migrant workers for justice cited a Kenyan employee of United Cleaning: For five months I had to live with very little food and no salary. My family was really affected. Tears come to my eyes when I remember where we used to go to find food – in the bins. After two years and five months of working with United Cleaning without taking any vacation, the company owes me a lot of money which they refuse to pay me.

The human rights organization reported that many migrant workers face low pay, harsh working conditions and restrictions on their movement…. Qatar has promised to improve workers’ access to justice…. This promise has not yet been matched by reality…. Until this is fixed, hundreds of workers will continue to leave Qatar penniless and without justice.

According to the Amnesty report, Qatar promised to improve the protection of migrant workers with the aid of the International Labor Organization. But the regime of Qatar refused to answer Fox News’ questions over the Amnesty report.

Moreover, British parliamentarians have previously requested FIFA to transfer the 2022 World Cup from Qatar. They include Damian Collins, MP, formerly chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee, and David Triesman, a member of the House of Lords and a former chairman of the English Football Association. Actually, the cost of transferring the World Cup from Qatar to a new host country would depend on the new host country and its current facilities.

Indeed, Britain could be a principal candidate for the transfer and according to a Cornerstone analysis; the estimated cost would be around $100 million, with the expenses including an upgrade of facilities. Cornerstone’s founder Ghanem Nuseibeh, who has an expert in the Middle East informed Fox News that the benefits of bringing 2022 to England far outweigh the cost.

He also said that cost of building FIFA facilities for Qatar is $200 billion, which by the way is way off what it cost other countries to build their facilities, and he added: Revenue for Qatar will be negligible compared to what they have spent both on facilities and broadcasting rights. Even if 2022 succeeds by Qatar’s or FIFA standards, it is in fact a massive loss to both Qatar and FIFA, both financially and reputationally.

Last year, the Sun newspaper related that the market research company Ipsos MORI revealed Britain’s overwhelming opposition to Qatar 2022. It also said that a mere 6% of Brits believe Qatar’s regime deserves to host the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, and it wrote: A huge 58% want England to try and win the rights for the World Cup, having hosted it just once in 1966.

Furthermore, Thayssa Plum, a FIFA spokesperson, informed Fox News in a statement that it was not made aware of the report from Cornerstone, and therefore we are not in a position to comment on it. He also said: FIFA is regularly updated on the situation with respect to FIFA World Cup workers and has been closely following the efforts put in place by the SC [Supreme Committee, a delivery partner of FIFA] to contain the virus among its workers since the beginning of the pandemic. FIFA fully trusts the regular updates received by its team in Zurich and the Q22 team in Qatar, and is pleased to confirm the situation is currently under control.

About the widespread work exploitation by the regime of Qatar claimed in the Amnesty report, Plum reported that In line with our strict and ongoing commitment to human rights, FIFA and the other tournament organizers have put in place wide-ranging mechanisms to identify and address labor rights risks in relation to FIFA World Cup projects.

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