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Monday, September 20, 2021

Former PM: Racism fueling unequal scrutiny of Qatar, Russia World Cups

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Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani

In a new interview, Qatar’s outspoken former prime minister has denied any wrongdoing in the country’s bid for the 2022 World Cup and asked why Russia – which will host the football tournament four years earlier – is not being placed under the same scrutiny.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who left his post as PM approximately two years ago, told Fox News this week that residents in the region believe the criticism is fueled in part by racism.

“If you see how (critics) talk about Russia and how they talk about Qatar … it is all about Qatar. Is it because (Qatar is) an Arab Islamic small country?” he said yesterday on the Fox program Sunday Morning Futures.

He added that he supports Russia’s right to host the 2018 World Cup.

While some have questioned whether it’s appropriate to hold the World Cup in Russia in light of its invasion of Ukraine, such discussions have been overwhelmingly overshadowed by reports of migrant worker abuse and bribery allegations in Qatar.

New investigation

Last week, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland announced it was launching criminal proceedings as part of an investigation into “irregularities” into the awarded of the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

The investigation is looking into allegations of “criminal mismanagement and of money laundering” related to the selection process for the football tournaments.

FIFA headquarters
FIFA headquarters

The announcement came the same day that Swiss police, acting on behalf of US authorities, arrested several FIFA executives.

Officials say that more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks were paid or agreed to by US and South American sports executives for media and marketing rights to international football tournaments since the 1990s.

The Swiss police statement said the two investigations were separate and the US Department of Justice did not mention the 2018 or 2022 World Cup in a lengthy statement that explained the indictment.

The dramatic move came two days before Sepp Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term and fueled perceptions that Qatar bribed members of FIFA’s executive committee to help secure support for its bid.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In response, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy – which is overseeing the country’s construction of World Cup stadiums and training facilities – said in a statement last week that there was nothing untoward about its winning submission:

“We conducted our bid with integrity and to the highest ethical standards,” the SCDL said in a statement.

Al Thani echoed that position yesterday and hinted that international media and some of the losing bidders were responsible for “flaring” the issue.

“We dealt with this in a fair competition. There was no corruption … (It) shows the ugly face of the other party when they did not win a fair competition.”

Past involvement

Al Thani – widely known by his initials, HBJ – held several senior government posts under former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani including prime minister, foreign minister and chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, where he oversaw the country’s sovereign wealth fund.

He was sidelined when Sheikh Hamad abdicated his position as Emir to his son Sheikh Tamim in 2013, and largely disappeared from public view for a year.

HBJ re-emerged in mid-2014, conducting an hour-long television interview with US journalist Charlie Rose and making several multibillion-dollar financial investments.

He was also photographed alongside Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani last October at the funeral of Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of French oil firm Total.

However, Al Thani downplayed his current connection to the Qatar government during his Fox interview by underscoring that he was speaking as an individual, and not on behalf of the country.

Syrian Embassy in Doha
Syrian Embassy in Doha

Much of this week’s discussion focused on regional security issues such as the influence of ISIS, which Al Thani attributed to a failure of the US and other military powers to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as advocated by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other states in the region.

He added that ISIS has been strengthened by the perceived exclusion of Sunnis from Iraq’s government in recent years.

More broadly, HBJ said the region’s instability has been fueled by decades of “bad policy” and suggested some rulers in the Middle East are primarily concerned with holding onto their own positions rather than improving the lives of their citizens:

“We have dictatorships which have stayed 40 years, most think about themselves how to stay in power. They do not talk about jobs and development.”

Thoughts?

198 COMMENTS

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Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago

I don’t think it really matters at this point what the motivations behind the international media’s focus on Qatar’s WC are anymore, now that the criminal investigations have begun, it should make it easier to separate the guilty from the innocent.

Bornrich
Bornrich
6 years ago

Using the race card always smacks of obfuscation and, worse, desperation. Not sure why HBJ is going on an offensive before any criminal investigation is concluded. As far as I see it, Qatar is in a good position here with FIFA’s practices in the frame.

truth.e.ness
truth.e.ness
6 years ago

Is it possible that people are more interested in the obvious foul play of Qatar over Russia because it is significantly more ludicrous to have the World Cup in Qatar — when it was originally planned for the summer? This and the obvious failures to hide the corruption and guilty parties? There is evidence splashed across TV & newspapers. How can someone cry “Racism!” when there are bank statements of payments to FIFA members?

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  truth.e.ness

The issue shall remain contentious because it was never declared before hand that certain parts of the world e.g. North Africa and the Middle East must never be allowed to host tournaments of this kind. This meant that they were allowed to not only retain the hope over decades but also to invest in bids.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

It was never declared beforehand that certain parts of the world would be allowed to host a winter tournament either. If announced beforehand, that would have made a heck of a difference to Australia’s bid.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Apples and oranges…Besides, Australia’s issue was apparently time-zone related and yes, if time-zone is an issue then don’t let a country invest in a bid.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Nonsense. Why wasn’t time zone an issue when Japan and Korea hosted the tournament?

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

What they mean for FIFA in terms of market?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

It is too bad that FIFA turned the sport into a souq of the worst kind.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Note that not stated as fact but as what Australians were discussing in the aftermath.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Brown envelopes should have been a more relevant topic of discussion than time zones.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  truth.e.ness

Some of the reasons for questioning Qatar’s bid, in addition to the obvious summer heat problem, were that the country has never qualified for the World Cup finals, isn’t known for its passion for football and doesn’t have the infrastructure to host a major tournament.Russia is not a football superpower like Brazil or Italy, yet it has millions of registered football players and is passionate about football in the summer.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Additional criteria created after the fact. This sort of gerrymandering can only be harmful in the short and longterm.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

I don’t see those as additional criteria, never mind gerrymandering. The football fans have never understood or accepted FIFA’s vague selection criteria and opaque voting process. Therefore we have the right to comment before and after the fact, and question FIFA’s motives.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Well it’s interesting how relaxed these “football fans” were before the present uproar. Where was the uproar before especially when you consider that Qatar only succeeded on its second bid?

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

It was there; however, it was not prominently featured in the local press.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

It was not featured in any press as it is today which only bolsters the arguments of those who detect other motivations for the protest whether one agrees with them or not.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

I suggest that you spend an afternoon going through old newspapers and blogs – not Persian Gulf ones though. It does make very interesting reading, the disbelief was there from day 1.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Searches and search stats speak for themselves.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago

Acusing others of racism? Everything I do and say here is governed by my race. The benefits I receive compared to others is based on my race, the service I receive, the entry even into a mall. I was refused medical treatment at West Bay clinic because of my race. Gov HR law says Qatari get 6% pay rise for fair performance, none guaranteed for me because of my race. This whole country is based on a pecking order of race!!!

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

“Gov HR law…” not race, in that case nationality.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

You are entirely correct my boo boo!

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

Bangladeshi-Americans are slightly lower in the pecking order that blue-eyed Americans

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Why go to recent immigrants, what about African Americans who have been there for centuries and still are discriminated against by the “fair” judicial system, employment opportunities, law enforcement, etc., and these are guys of the same nationality.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Dude, I am talking about the pecking order here, in Qatar.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

I already made a comment about that pecking order a few seconds ago, and it’s not a Qatar thing, it exists in most developing countries in the world. Blue-eyed Americans are treated different than their non-Caucasian ones all over Asia, Latin America, certain parts of Europe, etc.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

This is Doha News, I live in Doha and I am certainly more interested in the pecking order here than, let’s say, Paraguay, Myanmar or Turkmenistan.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

The pecking order isn’t one defined by law, and even a very significant number of the expats in Qatar also do adhere to the arrangement of that pecking order, it is not a “Qatar” thing, nor is it in the HR law as you suggested.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

You had a fair point until you mixed up nationality with race.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

You are entirely correct, my bad. New word of the day nationalism: discrimination against someone based on their nationality…. No wait, I got that wrong again….

Dapi Doolittle
Dapi Doolittle
6 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

Apartheid South Africa had a Sports Boycott imposed against them to help them get over their racist legislation, perhaps something similar could be done to help Qatar.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Dapi Doolittle

Name me a piece of racist Qatari legislation..

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Dapi Doolittle

How can you seriously compare apartheid South Africa to Qatar? Revisionist history of this sort makes victims of everyone and worse; revictimizes those who suffered under apartheid and continue to endure its repercussions.

James
James
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

As an individual who was born here and lived here all my life, sadly to a “lower race” the race issue hurts just as much, i spent my entire childhood wondering why i should be afraid of being too loud or expressing myself in public. I lived in fear. If you havent experienced it you really shouldnt be so bold as to compare.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  James

Still does not warrant revisionist history and what you provide as examples in your comment leads me to believe that you don’t have an understanding of what the “Bantu” experience was in apartheid South Africa. Some things should not be compared as they are well…incomparable.

SLICK
SLICK
6 years ago

At least Russia has an International soccer team made up of Russians…Qatar doesn’t even have an International team made up of Qataris… Blatter even told Qatari very recently that they had to add more Qatari’s to their team for the World Cup. As for the corruption, Blatter will be out in less than 6 months.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  SLICK

lets hope so – for the good of footbal – Blatter cant even prioitise the beautiful game over his own ego

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  SLICK

So when you have an international team comprised of your nationals that then permits you to engage in corrupt activity? That’s good to know, lol.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Having nationals who can sing the national anthem on your national team at least proves that you are a football nation. Buying mercenary players to defend your national pride suggests that, at least in your collective mind, anything can be bought.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Do you consider Pakistan a football nation? I am pretty sure they have no naturalized players on their roster.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Having nationals on the team is necessary but not sufficient. Employing expats to wash your car is OK, to raise your children – questionable, to defend your national pride – a bit too much.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

I would personally rank raise your children as “a bit too much”, and playing for the national team as “questionable”. You don’t think the children speaking your language is more important than the national team speaking it? Come on dude! Shame on you prioritizing national football teams over kids!

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Dude, we raised our kids ourselves and they speak our language. Don’t blame me for being so cheap when it comes to raising your children and employing QR 900/month nannies that don’t speak your language, yet spending billions on football.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

You think someone who spends billions will hire “QR 900/ month nannies”? Use your brain dude…

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Open your eyes and look around, my friend.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago

Strong claims require strong evidence, which HBJ hasn’t provided. However, the evidence to back up the claims of corruption dribbles out in a constant flow, which I expect to turn into a torrent in about 6 months..

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

That is why these debates are pointless irrespective of what each side claims and the strength of any evidence provided, nothing really matters until a respected fair and impartial authority acts on it. Otherwise you’re just going around in circles, with one side saying there is substantial evidence of corruption, the other that they are jealous racists.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Ever heard of the Garcia report?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Yeah, and what happened with that?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

I would imagine that it went from the FBI to any number of law enforcement agencies around the world who have been reading it for a number of months now. I’m sure we’ll get a hint at the trials.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

I knew the answer, my point was that at that time the body that had reviewed it had “acted” on it in a manner they saw fit. With these new investigations we’ll see another body’s conclusion.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Ah, I get lost in the subtleties of rhetoric on occasion.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Old man Sepp did not have the cahoonas to publish the Garcia report in full.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Sepp’s opinion is no longer worth used toilet paper.

Anonycat
Anonycat
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Said a random guy on the internet about a man who recently been elected by representatives of the world football association .

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonycat

Mmmm, I’m curious about the succession rules in FIFA – anyone know what happens when the president can no longer fill the role because he or she is indisposed? I imagine that there are a lot of lawyerly types looking into that as we speak. Sepp may be calm, but I’m sure that they are planning for him not to be able to complete his term.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

He has the right to assign successor from one of his direct male relatives, rumor has it he has a nephew who has been groomed for the role, and will be taking reign of FIFA when the time is right.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Ah, a time honoured tradition then. Does he have a spare, just in case his heir has an unseemly sexual interest in the underage, as you know, happens?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Where did that happen?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Where did what happen?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Is it racism killing construction workers in Qatar? I’m sorry the charge is pathetic, it seems to the first defense people jump to to try and shut people up. He threw in islamaphobia as well another one used to shut down debate.

South Africa has admitted paying a 10 mill bribe to FIFA, Bin Hammam was kicked out for illicit payments when he was Qatar’s highest ranking football official, the whole rotten edifice of FIFA is coming down. Qatar never sued the British newspapers that published the allegations. If they are clean you have to ask why they did not. If 100% clean it would be an easy win in the courts of London and newspapers would have to pay damages and an apology

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Maybe it’s because I didn’t follow the story back then, but could you elaborate more on South Africa bribing FIFA? Specifically, was there as big a campaign to take away hosting the world cup from South Africa as we see today against Qatar?

Again, I didn’t follow all the issues concerning the hosting of the world cup in South Africa and Brazil, but I do k now that there were issues related to poor people being forced out of their homes so the land can be used to build stadiums.

Additionally, I recall reading that until recently, maybe even to this day, South Africa was still paying back the debts it incurred in order to be able to finance hosting the world cup. This in country that has one of the highest, if not the highest, AIDS rates in the world! How many people have died becasue money that should’ve gone to to pay for AIDS medicine and research went instead to hosting a sporting event?

Same story with Brazil; they have a big problem with poor people, especially street children, and yet they spent money (borrowed most likely) on hosting the world cup?

I recently saw a video on youtube, shared by a “friend”, on the number of workers that have died in the London, Russia, and China Olympics and the South Africa and Brazil World Cups. Then they showed the numbers of Qatar: 1200! Then they said that each game will cost the lives of 62 laborers?!

Oddly enough, they used the “62 laborer per game ratio” for Qatar, which is actually an rough estimate of how many laborers are expected to die working on the world cup! This estimate itself is based on the total number of laborers that have last year or the year before, many of whom didn’t die while working.

Lisa Clayton
Lisa Clayton
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

I think the South Africa bribes have just recently come to full light. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32952078

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Clayton

Thanks Lisa. I just looked up yesterday, and indeed this story has just came out.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

If we are to believe that white western countries don’t like “Arab Islamic small countries” why then did the white western FIFA delegates from Europe, the US and Australia etc all overwhelmingly vote for a Jordanian prince to replace Blatter?

Did they leave their casual racism at home that day?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

He said the media was racist. FIFA delegates never discriminate on ethnic background, just on size of bank accounts.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Fair point, but I’ve tried to find one negative (“racist”) media piece about Prince Ali from the UK, the US, or those other “racist” newspapers and journalists and haven’t found anything.

Is it that they are hold racist views, but don’t mind a Jordanian Prince? How does that work?

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Racism can be implicit and certain views whether racist or not are interpreted as such and Westerners have a hard time understanding such matters e.g. I have seen over and over in the past few days implications that Asia and Africa voted solely on the basis of dirty money of some kind or the other. Is it possible that the fact that FIFA has built pitches and sports academies in so many developing countries could win Blatter votes? Is it possible that they were swayed by his more ‘Olympic’ vision of football that circulates tournaments to regions outside the West that to date has hosted by far the largest number of World Cups?

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Also refer to my response above on the whole Prince Ali and race issue.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

I understand your point but the problem is that the way UEFA went about it only succeeded in making Prince Ali appear to be a stooge of the West who once in place would return the favour…

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Well anyone who knows Middle Eastern history will know why the “stooge of the West” would be a label he would have in common with his forefathers…

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Like every other ruling family in the middle east in one way or another in that regard, aren’t they?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Depends on who you ask.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Exactly…the Hashemite Kingdom has been proud, independent and strong, much like the Trucial States, Oman,(in such a big way) Bahrain and Qatar. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it. 😉

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Well speaking of UEFA, and the fanciful notion that “If you see how (critics) talk about Russia and how they talk about Qatar … it is all about Qatar” isn’t it UEFA who are trying to drive a boycott against the Russian 2018 event?

How is a proposed pan-European boycott against the Russian event not about Russia?

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Pan-European? That is a myth of the media. Is UEFA really speaking as a block on the boycott? Russia and Eastern Europe aside, it is really difficult to overlook the fact that France and Spain voted for Blatter.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

True, but UEFA is a block of over 50 countries, of which it is suspected that only 17 or so split and voted to support Blatter. Are they united? No. But a 2/3 vote against Blatter is still significant.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Signficant in what way? Potential boycott? Platini’s threat should have taken effect by now.

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

For the purposes of the discussion (that the attention on Qatar is driven by racism while Russia is not subject to any scrutiny) it is significant. There is no meaningful talk of a Qatar boycott, but there are countries who are willing to walk away from 2018.

Saying that “no one” is talking about Russia because they are all too busy being all racist and stuff about Qatar is absurd.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Ok but I don’t see how that arises from my comment on Prince Ali and the West.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Except there is meaningful talk, at least in the US press, of the cancellation of 2022. Most agree that 2018 is too close and folks will just have to hold their noses and deal with. There is lots of time to get a replacement for Qatar.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Since when did the US press call the shots on the World Cup? Besides, cancelling 2022 is not simply a matter of drawing a line across the name “Qatar.” There is the financial aspect (the country has already invested millions on the games) and the political angle (first WC of the Middle East and all those countries supporting it).

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

I at no point said that it was a decision of the US press, but that it is being talked about in a serious manner as a realistic option. Lets be honest, it is a realistic option that needs to be considered by all concerned.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

It is only serious to those who are out of touch with opinion at a global level.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Global level? There would be few tears globally in FIFA died, the slate were wiped clean on WC bidding, and a new grassroots organization replaced it.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

No matter how hard you try you cannot wish away the support Blatter got at the last election.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

All true, but at the end of the day Qatar isn’t in control. If sponsors and FIFA decide that Qatar 2022 is too much of burden they won’t really care how much money has been spent.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Show me a sponsor who does not care about the market in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and I’ll show you a liar.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

The fans and the sponsors alike want to watch Spain, Brasil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and perhaps England (he-he-he) play. Nobody gives a rat’s behind about Tajikistan playing Madagascar.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Spain and France voted for Blatter and Germany has made it clear that it will not support WC boycott.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

The Hancock insurance company during the run-up to the 2002 olympics is a good example of a possible path. They were a major sponsor that went toe to toe with the IOC and told them to straighten up their act or they were gone – this caused reform from within. They were an example of a company willing to lose money rather than have their name associated with the IOC. I daresay that there are many companies having the same conversation about the WC and 2018 and 2022. It is very simple, ‘Is our image and brand damaged more by being associated with FIFA, Russia and Qatar, or by pulling out’?

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Those are assumptions from the US press, not “meaningful talk”, the only meaningful talk will be from those who can ultimately determine where the games will be held…

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Yep, either a rump FIFA, or whatever has replaced it.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

FIFA still exists and last time I checked, even UEFA was still part of it.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

That’s the nice thing about prognostication, its relationship to the current state of affairs is fluid.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Destroying FIFA is not as easy as you think because most federations, including some in Europe believe in reforming it from within.

Doc
Doc
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

I think UEFA have a meeting friday……..

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

this is what Platini said who is head of UEFA so I would say yes

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

Well even Germany who voted against Blatter has made its unease with boycotts known.

Tim
Tim
6 years ago
Reply to  Andrew

Possibly the worst argument on this page.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

oh get a grip – what a pityful disclosure that is ! trying to declare a race card, in a nation which is itself racist and discrimiatory ! This is self-harming on a national scale

Guest
Guest
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

So your accusing a whole nation of being racist?

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

open your eyes and look around you – the evidence is there for all to see

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

As opposed to opening your eyes and looking around you as a minority in the Utopian West? Your argument about the entire country being racist is still problematic.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

You realize that you are comparing one country with a miniscule population to a whole range of other undefined countries? Not a meaningful comparison at all. Why don’t you limit it to an apples to apples comparison? There are countries that are extremely progresive on the race relations front, and then others that are the ‘Western’ equivalent of disaster areas such as Yemen.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Reason is all that’s necessary to understand the point.

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago
Reply to  Guest

keep digging your own hole. I would offer you a spade, but you already seem to have a JCB !

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago

I do believe race had a lot to do with it. Many of the media outlets are charged and motivated by the fact a small Arab country like Qatar will host while the U.S. and England won’t.

If there’s concern on human right, which is justified, then is there no concern about human rights of those invaded by Russia?

I’ll say this. Abuse of the workforce in Qatar is real and a 30 minute drive any direction is enough proof of it. Denying it won’t make the problem go away, fixing it will.

However the problem does not start and end with the Qatari govt. it starts from the “recruitment agent” who charges poor families $500 which they can’t offered for a work visa. The $500 is usually on loan against the families home, farm or even cattle. The abuse continues in charging the individual all the fees from medical checks to visa application fees, while the employer in Qatar is also charged. The abuse continues in Doha where company Arab manager and foremen from the same nationality stick them 6 a room with pay hardly enough to buy food. It continues with the Qatari company owner who chooses the comfort of his majles and a steady monthly check from the company manager in exchange for keeping his nose out and making the wasta is there when needed. It also falls on the govt for doing to little to late and no more focused with what the global media thinks instead of taking decisive actions and ensuring those who continue the abuse are dealt with. This also means quick legislation to phase out NOC and kafala systems. It also falls on all of us as we choose to be internet brigadiers of human rights but hardly bother doing anything in real life. The 5 rial tip you give the bag boy does lead to anything other than the 3 minutes self satisfaction you get out of it…

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

And on racism .. In tired of hearing western white men tell me what is and isn’t racist or bigoted … Unless you’ve been systematically on the receiving end of it then please don’t lecture us just as you wouldn’t stand in and start lecturing us about feminism…

Living, studying and working in western countries as a much disliked minority’s one develops a good sense of bigotry and racism .. And they’re undertones…

Is the attack on Qatar driven by islamphobia or racism .. No .. Not all of it.. But to outright deny some attacks are not driven by it is stupid

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

And I’m tired of hearing Asians tell me that I can’t have an opinion on the topic. Having spent many decades on the receiving end of systemic racism in Asia I am well versed to have a meaningful opinion. Living, working, studying and marrying into Asian countries one gets a good sense of bigotry and racism, and their undertones. I am equally tired of the idea that racism is purely, or even majorly, a Caucasian issue.

Anonycat
Anonycat
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Well, it is.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonycat

Come with me to China. You will meet racism that will take you to another level and make the protections and discussion in much of Europe look utopian.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

You think as a White guy in China you had it bad? Then I wonder what a Black guy would feel over there…lol.

Face it dude, as a white guy you can go pretty much anywhere in the world and if you experience racism it would be in its “lightest” form compared to what other ethnic groups would experience. Only time being White would be “worse” than other races is when terrorists seek to kidnap/kill you, as they too target white because they see them as more “valued” than other ethnic groups of the same nationality.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

Black guys had it worse, indeed. The hierarchy goes Chinese, other Asian, Arab/Hispanic, Black. Yes, being caucasian with the likes of Abu Sayef wouldn’t be fun. At the end of the day it is all academic though as we are all just barbarians.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonycat

Except for when it isn’t.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Only white people can be racist, only men can be sexist and only Muslims suffer persecution. Didn’t you get the memo?

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I’d gotten the persecution and sexism memo, but I’d missed the racism one. I was at a Human Rights Watch meeting that day.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

I went to a conference in Doha a number of years ago when it was still called Q-Tel and a Indian lady made a very nice presentation on employee engagement until she got to the last slide which stated. It has been proven that Asian employees are more motivated and dedicated than their white counterparts and therefore more productive. Of course I then had to ask a question and suggested to her that if you flipped that the other way don’t you think that would be considered racist? Her response was she was only telling the ‘facts’ lol

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Facts are dangerous things – there was a researcher at who QU did an internal study and one of the secondary results was data that showed that the North American staff of a certain department were more culturally sensitive and aware than their Arab counterparts. He made no sweeping claims, just reported the data as measured on one assessment, in one department, one time. He is no longer in the country.

al-Lalal
al-Lalal
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

I think that the ulterior motives for the campaign against Qatar are anti-nouveau-riche first, Islamophobia second, racism third.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

I don’t think it is any of those, it’s FIFA corruption robbed the other bidding countries of a fair chance. They spent millions bidding for a WC when the game had already been rigged in advance.

I also think since the “award” it has highlighted the abuse of employer power and the above average death toll among migrant workers. This has focused NGOs and human rights organisations who can use the publicity of the WC to pursue what they see as justice.

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

There are certainly financial irregularities in FIFA that should be fixed even if people may disagree on their nature and personally I think the resulting pressure from 2022 holds more potential for labour reform in Qatar than one could achieve around the office water cooler but to say that none of those 3 factors (Islamophobia etc.) have played a role of any kind in the resulting uproar is to ignore something that is also real.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Spirit

Are individuals in the west racist, anti Arab and dislike Islam. Yep, that is certainly true. However the investigations run by the British media are not fueled by those prejudices. Bin Hamman is Arab, Muslim and a little bit dark and was hammered in the world media especially the west but he was also at the center of a huge amount of corruption. So much so even FIFA banned him! Let’s not forget some of these people are guilty and will use any trick to deflect attention.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  al-Lalal

Since when did Qataris become a race? This is not the Arab WC, it may be Qatar’s. And, as many of the commentators on here have pointed out, discrimination a la Qatar style is not an issue as it is nationality based, not race based.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

Racism is used in the loosest of terms, meaning bias and prejudice.

The confusion is caused by the fact that we have a word in Arabic (عنصرية) used to cover everything from misogyny to discriminating against people based on what country their from to what school they graduated from.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

Presumably a man of HBJ”s sophistication knows the fine distinction between discrimination, racism, bias, and prejudice and knows which word to choose. The fact that he chose racism when there are more accurate and less inflamatory choices is baffling

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago
Reply to  Anonymouse

“Presumably”, and there’s your answer!

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Agreed. However, to deny that much of the shouting of racism by Al-Thani and the others is not driven by denial and lack of critical self-reflection is equally stupid, n’est pas?

Lisa Clayton
Lisa Clayton
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

Agreed on main points. I just think there is a “weariness” about how the term “racism” is used so often when it’s probably not the real issue. “Prejudice” and “bigotry” are terms I tend to use unless clear racism or Islamophobia are indicated.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
6 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Clayton

Well said.

Abdulrahman
Abdulrahman
6 years ago

There were many human rights issues concerning hosting the world cup in both Brazil and South Africa; yet, I don’t recall any massive campaigns against either country!

Bo3abed
Bo3abed
6 years ago
Reply to  Abdulrahman

FDI of the West is high in both of these countries. It’s relatively low in Russia and Qatar. It’s all about the money.

Mr. B
6 years ago

One thing I think that Qataris – and Gulf Arabs in general – never fully seemed to understand is the anti-rich bias in the West. The wealth of the Gulf states is the result of winning the natural resource lottery; no hard work or smarts went into the vast sovereign wealth funds that pad the lifestyles of the people in the region. In the West, where the ideal is hard work = wealth, this situation is regarded with a great deal of contempt. When Qatar appeared to bribe (I’m very intentionally using the word “appeared” until a judicial authority somewhere says otherwise), the backlash was, I think, emotionally centered in that feeling: Qatar had just gotten lucky to have natural gas and had never truly earned its wealth in the Western sense. Therefore, Qatar didn’t deserve to host the World Cup, or be regarded as an equal to Western countries, until it had proved it could do more than just sell natural gas.

You see this anti-rich bias in the way we often bash, mock, and harass some celebrities in the West; they are also viewed as rich who haven’t really earned their money, merely gotten sacks of cash for being good looking or being able to market their bodies effectively.

Russia, conversely, doesn’t get quite the same attention because people still associate it with hardship and poverty, traits that engender sympathy rather than contempt. When people bash Russia, they tend to bash Putin, leaving the hard-up Russian people out of it. When people bash Qatar, there’s a “Poor little rich kid” attitude about the entire citizenry, with Westerners feeling they can be harder on Qatar and Qataris because they have money.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Mr. B

Agreed.

Qatari
Qatari
6 years ago