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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Gulf sports officials rally around Qatar as World Cup host

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Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah (OCA)

Following a week of bad press over new bribery allegations related to its 2022 World Cup bid, Qatar has received the support of at least two influential sports officials in the region.

Speaking at a weekly general assembly meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the organization’s president Sheikh Ahmad al-Sabah charged that any sort of accusations against the Gulf state “were racist actions towards Qatar and Arabs, revealing the malice of those parties in a way that has no justification.”

The remarks were reported by the AIPS Football Commission. According to a reporter there, al-Sabah’s comments come at a time when FIFA is especially sensitive to claims of racism and discrimination.

AIPS added that the Kuwaiti official “effectively painted the attack on Qatar as an attack on the entire Arab region and thus raised the political temperature.”

‘Brothers’

Al-Sabah, who is also president of the Association of National Olympic Committees, added:

“We will confront all such acts of racism and we will stand with Qatar so that no-one removes its right to organize the 2022 World Cup in Doha.

I stand by my brothers in Qatar and with Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim (Al Khalifa), the (Asian Football Confederation) president.”

Earlier this week, Al Khalifa, a Bahraini official, also expressed his support for Qatar, shortly after a series of articles in the Sunday Times alleged that his AFC predecessor, Mohamed Bin Hammam, paid African FIFA officials $5 million to vote for Qatar’s World Cup bid.

Salman bin Ibrahim Al-Khalifa

In a statement, Al Khalifa said he “expresses grave concerns over media reports regarding awarding the hosting rights of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to Qatar.” He continued:

“Shaikh Salman says hosting the FIFA World Cup in Asia, especially in the Middle East, means a lot to the continent and he is looking forward to seeing a successful FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The AFC President is convinced that the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, will do their utmost to clear the doubts.”

Meanwhile, other international football leaders are also weighing in on the latest allegations, which Qatar has emphatically denied.

UEFA president Michel Platini, who voted for Qatar’s bid, said he had “no regrets” about his decision in 2010. However, he added, according to the Guardian:

“I think it was the right choice for Fifa and world football but if corruption is proven, there will have to be a new vote and new sanctions.”

The idea that Qatar’s bid was tainted by corruption is not a new one, and has been discussed often in the four years since the country won the World Cup bid.

For the past several months, FIFA’s ethics chief, Michael Garcia, has been investigating the bidding process for the 2018 (Russia) and 2022 tournaments. He apparently met with Qatari officials in Oman this week, and plans to release a report outlining his findings in July.

Thoughts?

39 COMMENTS

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MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Well support from these chaps is like Boko Haram coming out and saying Bashar Assad is just misunderstood.

The use of racism is a poor defence and insults those who suffer true racism. Qatar 2022 claims their hands are clean and I look forward to their legal action against The Times and Telegraph to clear their name and sue for damages.

I think we all know that won’t happen. We will get denials but not action.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

why? have these guys been found guilty of bribery? (not arguing just asking for info)

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

No, but they are unlikely to be prosecuted in Qatar because most of them are the govt.

So we are in limbo now, various organizations and individuals have produced documents which indicate a breach of FIFA bidding rules at least if not criminal acts. However Qatar 2022 appears not willing to go to court if the allegations are a 100% untrue as they say but neither can they convince the world their is no merit in them.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

then i dont understand your comparison, boko haram saying bashar is misunderstood is like one terrorist organisation defending another. implying that these guys defending qatar is like one person guilty of bribery defending another, yet these kuwaiti and bahraini officials havent been found or as far as i know even formally accused of such a thing.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

If we really want to get to the bottom of the filth in FIFA we need to get jack Warner to talk. (He also uses racism defense at every opportunity) when his old friend blatter cut him loose he promised a tsunami of damning evidence but then promptly shut up. He has been at the center of FIFA corruption for 20 years and could probably take down half of FIFA alone and reveal the truth behind Qatar’s bid and who got paid what

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Please do not compare them to Boko Haram. You undermine the seriousness of the challenges facing those who are living in fear of Boko Haram. Have you been to a place like Borno State? If you had, you would think twice before striking your keyboard.

KK
KK
6 years ago

If you are in the spotlight, then you will be subject to criticism. The issue is to deal with it properly.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

Even though I think there may have been some bribery involved in the world cup bid, I do think that people are a little anti arab. People were moaning and complaining from the jump. It wad quite obvious they didn’t want the WC in an arab country.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

No the whole thing just made no sense. WC in 50* weather, no infrastructure, high risk report to begin with. If it smells like a fish…

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Amber

No I fully support someone in the Middle East getting the WC. I don’t see this is really about Qatar it’s about a corrupt and deceitful FIFA whose time has come. It is time to abolish FIFA and it’s money laundering

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

“While the documents have raised serious questions about Bin Hammam’s conduct and his support of the Qatar bid, there is no single email, bank transfer or letter which shows unequivocally that the campaign was directly involved in paying bribes via Bin Hammam.”

http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/27656950

Are the latest allegations a smoking gun?
They potentially are for Bin Hammam and some of the officials implicated, although he himself has already been banned for life. But there is still no indisputable proof that any of the payments made by Bin Hammam were intended to buy votes for the 2022 World Cup, rather than support for his doomed bid to unseat Sepp Blatter as Fifa president.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/world-cup/10869855/Qatar-2022-World-Cup-corruption-scandal-explained.html

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

Yes it will be impossible to prove, whilst I do think that this man had the tacit support of the Qatari authorities to make payments to secure the world cup, I am sure he never penned an email that said “Dear Sir, Please find attached your $200,000 bribe to secure your WC 2022 vote. P.S this has already been agreed with the Qatari FA and World Cup Committee. Enjoy and don’t spend it all at once. Yours Bin Hammam.”

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

Doesn’t the impossibility to proof guilt mean legally innocent?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

In a court of law yes based on beyond reasonable doubt, however FIFA does make payments to officials and FA against the rules so they should kick them out. Won’t happen of course because they love money more than football.

The IOC cleaned up its act after Salt Lake City, but FIFA shows no desire to do the same. In fact it looks like Blatter is using Qatar to discredit his opponents, (he voted for the US) and get re elected unappossed. (Again)

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

didnt they already kick bin hammam out? and as far as i know there is no paper trail or hard evidence of any other qatari making payments so who els should they kick out?

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

the people who received the payments?

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Kingpin

People who received payments from bin hammam weren’t kicked out as well? That’s actually outrageous there equally guilty if not more so

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Some got suspended. Remember only 22 FIFA Exco members could vote instead of the usual 24. Plus another half were under investigation

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

most of the payments were not made to Exco members, instead to local FA members, who were then expected to lobby their regional exco member on Qatar’s behave (if the accusations are to be believed)

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Two things. One bin hamman was Qatar’s most senior football figure so to say it was only him so no harm done is disingenuous at best.

Plus it comes back to blatter again. Bin hamman didn’t get banned for illegal payments, many have done that, but blatter wanted him out of the way for the presidential election.

Kingpin
Kingpin
6 years ago

Yes you are correct. But I meant impossible to prove a direct link between Bin Hamman, the payments and the Qatari World cup committee. If they stick to the line “he had nothing to do with us, whatever payments he made was as an independent citizen”, it can never be linked back to them.

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago

No such thing as ‘legally innocent’, just not guilty. A big difference there, as we see in this case.

Wake up
Wake up
6 years ago

They dont deserve to host the world cup 22 as they have the 18th century rules exist for NOC of expats

Scarletti
Scarletti
6 years ago

there is racism in Qatar – but it has nothing to do with the legitimacy (or not) of the world cup bid – so to play this card is shameful

Deepak Babu
Deepak Babu
6 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Yep, Classic case of Pot calling Kettle black. Racism Ha!!! That is rich.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

no one can take the WC away!!!

Ivan Brendieswski
Ivan Brendieswski
6 years ago
Reply to  sadam

While it is unlikely, this is a patently false statement.

sadam
sadam
6 years ago

a lotta money is about to change hands, and in days to come it can cement its claim to host the WC! you’ll seeeee! all these detractors and this Michael Garcia will be paid twice the amount originally paid to propogate this smear campaign and ultimately turn the tide of the results of his investigation and put an end on the onslaught of bad press!! hahahah!! >;) ( this is a patently false statement)

Diego
Diego
6 years ago

Have to wait for Garcias report,hopefully on time, in July.This needs to be put to rest.I can understand other Arab Countries providing support.Perhaps to Arab States it may very well appear that others are ready to jump in,make noise and then hopefully reap the WC for their Country/region or allies.And yes,FIFA looks quite messed up and not organized in a manner that promotes good will for all/any culture through sports.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago

These comments are incredibly insensitive and inciting. The investigation has nothing to do with race, but rather a desire to determine if any unethical behavior took place. Logically, to say that due process is anti-Arab is to imply that Arabs don’t value due process. (Observing the court system in Qatar one might arrive at a similar conclusion, but that’s a completely different discussion.) I don’t believe that’s what he intended to say, but his comments don’t seem to be well thought through overall. I travel extensively throughout the GCC and do agree with Mr. Al-Sabah that racism is rampant in this part of the world, but his comments show a high degree of arrogance, ignorance, denial, or a dangerous combination of the three.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Yawn..getting bored of all this WC stuff…lots of noise no action from any side really…off to rearrange my sock drawer…

Doha Hack
Doha Hack
6 years ago

This is a typical deflection tactic – if The Sunday Times were considered racist every time they wrote a negative piece about Arabs, at a time when so much negative news comes out of this region, they wouldn’t be able to cover any of it. The real issue here is that someone got caught doing something that they shouldn’t have done allegedly on behalf of his country, this was picked up by the international press, he can’t control the international press as he might in Qatar, so an attempt is made to deflect the real issue of corruption towards the old racism chestnut – so transparent, so boring…

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

If as Platini says Qatar was “the right choice” then why is planning taking place to move the tournament to winter? Qatar’s problem is that because the country is so unsuitable on many counts to stage a summer World Cup then people are bound to look for other reasons as to why it was awarded. And you can’t play the racist card either, because the resentment aimed at the Qatari results from the sponsorship and labor laws and not for any racial considerations. Jordan, Oman, UAE, Abu Dhabi, Egypt are examples of states that do not provoke the same level of enmity as Qatar – because they are considered to be liberal and humane in comparison.

Humanbeing
Humanbeing
6 years ago

“Racist actions towards Qatar and Arabs, revealing the malice of those parties in a way that has no justification”

So the Biggest Racist in our planet is Abraham Lincoln , for he abolished slavery . How could they make such irrational irresponsible comments like this . Everyone who have education & commitment to humanity can easily understand what they are doing is inhuman .

LondonXpat
LondonXpat
6 years ago

I dont know what the whole fuss is about. Let Qatar keep the World Cup for 2022. Its the Middle East’s turn to hold the world cup.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

It gets worse for Qatar, Sony one of the sponsors now wants an investigation of the awarded of the tournament. If the sponsors start to get nervous then FIFA will drop 2022 like a stone, critiscm it can take but if someone threatens its revenue streams then it is serious.

The danger for Qatar was never the world’s media, it was ordinary people organising protests outside major sponsors HQs. People with banners saying, ‘Coca cola supports a slave state’ or “Heniken takes oil money’ will have them running faster than you can say Usian Bolt.

Masboro
Masboro
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I think that Sony are just covering their position to prevent accusations of supporting a corrupt bid. Personally I don’t think that any ‘smoking gun’ will be found to prove that the Qatar bid was won by using corruption. From what I have seen it was meetings about business deals etc. rather than an envelope stuffed with cash. FIFA itself is a very ‘opaque’ organization and I am sure the Brazilian and Russian bids followed similar paths to secure their ultimate award. .

Spirit
Spirit
6 years ago
Reply to  Masboro

And this is the issue the Sunday Times and its supporters have failed to highlight. The reality is that WC 2022 will be held in Qatar. It is one thing to encourage a country to make reforms in certain sectors of its economy and quite another to attempt to humiliate it on flimsy grounds.

Doha Hack
Doha Hack
6 years ago

The saga continues, and the sponsors are now getting involved…

http://m.arabianbusiness.com/world-cup-sponsor-calls-for-qatar-investigation-553084.html

I fear the end is now in sight.

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