Qatar World Cup horror, as 4,000 migrants could be ‘worked to death’

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The reasons against a World Cup in Qatar just keep stacking up, and this latest news is perhaps the most controversial of them all.

After reports surfaced earlier this week about the poor working conditions for construction workers in Qatar, NBC News understands that as many as 4,000 migrant workers could die as the tiny Arab nation kicks on with its construction efforts ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

Many outlets have cited Qatar’s “appalling labor abuses” and want more to be done about the huge influx of workers — between 500,000 and 1 million —  who will be brought in from Nepal, India and other South Asian and African countries to complete infrastructure for the tournament, the ITUC said. This vast number of overseas workers represents a workforce increase of 50 percent.

“More than 4,000 workers risk losing their life over the next seven years as construction for World Cup facilities gets under way if no action is taken to give migrant workers’ rights,” ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said in a statement.

“The annual death toll among those working on building sites could rise to 600 a year -– almost a dozen a week –- unless the Doha government makes urgent reforms.”

(MORE: Qatar hits back, “It’s the right place to host 2022 World Cup”)

Following this recent allegations and the reports being made public, soccer’s world governing body, FIFA, is looking into the situation in Qatar. While many will argue that migrant workers carrying out their job in harmful conditions is something that comes with hosting a World Cup, Olympic Games or other events, it shouldn’t be that way. Not at all.

The international soccer players’ union, FIFPro, said it was “deeply alarmed” by the reports, and called on the Qatari authorities to allow inspections.

Already there is huge resistance to a World Cup in Qatar, as European league are unwilling to switch their schedule for a Winter World Cup, while FIFA’s own doctors have raised concerns about the searing temperatures that reach above and beyond 120 degrees during the summer. Those figured have prompted FIFA President Sepp Blatter to push for a winter tournament but many believe this makes the original decision in 2010 to award Qatar the prestigious tournament, was a huge mistake.

(MORE: ‘Mistake’ FIFA President Sepp Blatter admits Qatar error)

With Qatari officials staying defiant over a summer World Cup in dangerous conditions, FIFA unsure what action to take and now the lives of thousands of migrant workers being put at risk to get the tournament up and running, where will this all end?

The tragic death of Christian “Chuco” Benitez occurred in the heat of the Qatari summer back in August, and then there are the lengthy allegations that Qatari officials bribed many FIFA officials and other influential member of the soccer world, to ensure they won the rights to host the 2022 tournament.

(MORE: Tragedy strikes as Christian Benitez, 27, dies in Qatar)

Is it time to take the tournament away from Qatar? Or should it simple be switched to the winter and all of those other concerns be forgotten?

FIFA and the soccer nations of the world have some serious thinking and talking to do between now and 2022, because this situation will only get worse before it gets better.

Report: Villarreal defender Semedo arrested on charges of alleged assault, kidnapping

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For the third time in the past four months, Ruben Semedo has found himself in trouble with the law.

According to a report from Spain, the Villarreal centerback was arrested Tuesday morning at his home on charges of assault, kidnapping and robbery. A complaint filed to the police by a victim alleges that Semedo and two others tied the victim up and locked the victim in a room in Semedo’s home.

Semedo and the others then allegedly took the victim’s keys and went to the victim’s house, where they allegedly stole money and/or other valuable items.

[READ: Wigan shock Man City in FA Cup]

Villarreal has yet to respond to the latest incident off the field, which has marred Semedo’s season and the club’s reputation. Semedo has only played four times this year as he’s currently recovering from a right leg injury, and he’s been sidelined with a variety of injuries since joining from Sporting Lisbon for around $17.3 million last summer.

This is Semedo’s third time in trouble with the law. Last October, after a long night of partying, Semedo allegedly smashed a bottle over someone’s head. In November, in the early hours of the morning following an all-night session at a night club, Semedo pointed a gun at a member of the night club’s security staff after an argument earlier in the evening forced Semedo to leave.

For the latter crime, the local prosecutor is pushing for two years in prison. If the current allegations can be proven true, Semedo could face even more time behind bars.

As of right now, it seems incredibly unlikely that Semedo could feature for Portugal in the World Cup, as he’ll have more important matters to deal with.

Russian authorities fine hotels for World Cup price-gouging

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MOSCOW (AP) Russian authorities in two cities say they have issued hundreds of fines after finding many hotels were illegally hiking prices for the World Cup.

The Rospotrebnadzor consumer regulator says one Moscow hotel raised prices up to 570 percent above what is allowed by a government decree designed to prevent excessive profiteering during the tournament.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

The regulator’s Moscow branch says it issued fines totaling 5.95 million rubles ($105,000) to 198 legal entities and 181 people.

In the Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg, where Mexico and France will each play a group game, the regulator said it fined seven hotels, some of which were charging almost three times the allowed rate for rooms.

Russian authorities have taken a hands-on approach to regulating hotel and travel costs during the tournament to prevent the negative publicity of visiting fans being charged large sums.

Spanish police dismantle match-fixing scheme in 3rd, 4th tiers

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MADRID (AP) Spanish police have dismantled a match-fixing scheme involving players and clubs in the country’s lower divisions.

Authorities said more than 20 people have been detained as part of the police operation launched on Monday, including players, although no names were immediately disclosed.

The matches under suspicion were in the third and fourth divisions this season and last season.

The match-fixing scheme reportedly involved Chinese betting sites.

The Spanish league said the operation was based on information collected by its analysts about suspicious activities.

UCL preview: Chelsea host Barcelona; Bayern vs. Besiktas

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  • Chelsea vs. Barcelona, at Stamford Bridge
  • Bayern Munich vs. Besiktas, at Allianz Arena
  • Champions League round of 16 resumes on Tuesday

[ UCL: Spurs fight back to draw Juventus | Liverpool thrash Porto in leg 1 ]

Chelsea, mired in some of their worst form since the disastrous 2015-16 season, welcome a Barcelona side enjoying one of the best six-month runs of results in the famed club’s entire history. The Blues have won just four of their last 12 games across all competitions, while the Blaugrana have lost once in 38 games.

On the plus side, Chelsea enter Tuesday’s colossal clash as winners of their last two games — back-to-back wins for the first time in 2018 — having outscored the likes of West Bromwich Albion and Hull City by a combined 7-0. Star striker Alvaro Morata returned to action against Hull after five weeks out with a back injury, thus Antonio Conte has something of a selection dilemma on his hands with the Spaniard perhaps only partially fit, and Olivier Giroud racking up a goal and three assists in the last two games, his first starts for the club.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have conceded just two goals in their last nine games (all competitions) and even managed to overturn their lone defeat, to Espanyol, and advance to the Copa del Rey semifinals (and eventually final). Despite losing Neymar in the summer, Barca mostly cruised through their Champions League group, only dropping points in draws away to Juventus and Olympiacos. Lionel Messi has, strangely, never scored a goal in his eight career appearances against Chelsea, a record which has been spoken about at length in the build-up to Tuesday — similarly to the goal-less record which plagued him against Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whom he finally bested back in September.

[ MORE: Man City win big away to Basel | Real Madrid 3-1 PSG ]

In the other round-of-16 first-leg matchup on Tuesday, five-time (soon-to-be six) defending Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich host surprise winners of Group G, Besiktas, ahead of the likes of Monaco, RB Leipzig and Porto.

Since taking over on an interim basis (through the end of the season), Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has won 21 of 22 games of which he’s been in charge, including four of six games during the group stage en route to finish second behind Paris Saint-Germain, while also racing out to a 19-point lead back home in Germany.