Tag: Qatar


Qatar launches probe after rains exposed poor construction

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Qatar has launched an investigation after heavy rains exposed poor construction in a country set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a deluge that saw water cascade through the roof of its $15 billion main airport.

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The investigation already is examining the work of five unnamed companies and others could be targeted as well in the probe launched by Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, who also serves as interior minister, the country’s state-run Qatar News Agency said.

“Parties responsible for dereliction or negligence, whether governmental or private, will be held accountable,” the agency said, citing a statement late Wednesday from Qatar’s Government Communication Office.

Reached for comment, officials at Doha’s Hamad International Airport issued a statement simply saying: “There was no impact to operations yesterday.” It referred other questions to the government.

The day before, at least 79.5 millimeters (3.13 inches) of rain fell at the airport, according to the Qatar Meteorology Department. Typically, the hot, desert country sees around 50 millimeters (1.97 inches) of rain in a year.

The sudden rainfall saw water pour out of the airport’s ceiling in several places, captured in online videos.

Qatar opened Hamad International Airport in April 2014, part of its effort to enter the competitive Gulf airline market. The 600,000 square meter (6.5 million square feet) passenger terminal complex was scheduled to be completed in 2009.

The airport is part of a multibillion-dollar building boom in Doha ahead of the 2022 World Cup. However, the push has seen Qatar criticized for the way it treats its large migrant worker population. There also have been accusations of shoddy construction.

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jongambrellap .

Cristiano Ronaldo: I’ll go to Qatar before I play for Man City

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
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Cristiano Ronaldo, who became a world superstar during his time at Manchester United, says he would never play for his former club’s Manchester rivals, Manchester City, no matter how much money they offered to pay him…because there’s always someone else willing to pay him more.

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Speaking in an exclusive television interview with BBC Sport, the question was asked of Ronaldo — would he consider signing for Man City if the price was right? To which the Portuguese superstar smile, chuckled a bit and had the following to say:

“You think the money is going to change my mind now, at 30 years old? I don’t think so. I think this is not going to be a problem.

“If you speak about the money, I will go to Qatar. They probably have more money than Manchester City, but it’s not about the money — it’s about the passion.”

Cheeky, Ronaldo, very, very cheeky. Though, of course, he does have a point. If it’s only money he’s after, he could head to the Middle East and make arguably more money than in the blue half of Manchester, and do so without disgracing the legacy he built for himself at Man United.

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Should Ronaldo ever be desperate for a few bucks just to get by (we don’t think that’ll ever be the case — the guy made a reported $80 million last year), he’ll always be able to move to a “retirement league” like Major League Soccer, where they’ll pay him $8 million per year just for being Ronaldo.

Michel Platini speaks about possible USA-Qatar World Cup U-turn

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Michel Platini could be in hot water ahead of the upcoming FIFA presidential vote in February 2016.

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In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday ahead of a FIFA executive committee meeting in Zurich, Platini revealed that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the USA’s 2022 World Cup bid but then changed his mind and voted for Qatar after a meeting in Paris with the President of France and leading Qatari officials.

Below is an excerpt from the AP’s story on these new revelations regarding one of the FIFA presidential candidates and the current head of UEFA, European soccer’s governing body.

However, Platini’s critics have often accused the Frenchman of putting politics before football, especially when he voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup weeks after meeting with then-France President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Platini acknowledged that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the rival United States bid. However, he changed his mind after the November 2010 meeting, hosted by Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and also attended by senior Qatari officials. Platini said it was not anything prearranged.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he said, smiling.

Well, Sarkozy having senior Qatari officials at a meeting attended by Platini and that last comment about “I knew what would be good” certainly isn’t helping out the case of the French national team legend. He has repeatedly stated his desire to separate politics from soccer if he is voted in as Sepp Blatter’s successor when the long-time FIFA president is replaced early next year. Blatter announced in June that he will resign after 17 years in charge of the organization which was rocked by the FBI-led charges that released details in May of over $150 million worth of corruption over a period spanning nearly two decades.

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Platini, 60, has been a long-term friend of Blatter and has received plenty of attention in the past after his son was handed a job in Qatar after the voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup process.

Many are pointing towards Platini’s closeness to Blatter, and many of the other high-ranking FIFA officials who have been caught up in the recent U.S. and Swiss investigations into alleged widespread corruption, as a strong reason why federations should not vote for him in the next presidential election.

Comments like these from Platini will only strengthen that argument.

Qatari foreign minister promises “best World Cup” ever, says human rights changes will come

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah gives a press conference following his meeting with his Tunisian counterpart, Taieb Baccouche, in Tunis on June 4, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID        (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)

Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah says Qatar’s 2022 World Cup will be the best-hosted edition in tournament history, and thinks race is playing a role in the backlash against his nation.

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Al-Attiyah is the minister of foreign affairs for Qatar, a position similar to the United States’ Secretary of State. While admitting the country has work to do in protecting migrant workers — they’ve been accused of modern slavery — he says Qatar is getting a bum rap.

And he promises that those human rights fixes are coming, really.

From the Associated Press:

“Some parties cannot digest that a small, Arabic state … is hosting such an event, as if our region, our Arab region is not entitled to have such an event,” he said.

Promised reforms to the country’s restrictive labor laws, which bind workers to a given employer and which rights groups say leave workers open to abuse, have yet to be implemented.

Al-Attiyah said he expected the new guidelines will be put in place by the end of the year.

“It is on the right track, and it will happen. We are serious about doing reforms,” he said.

So serious they haven’t done them at all. Granted the “end of the year” promise could be the real deal, but the nation has certainly taken its time.

In 2013, reports circulated that 90 percent of foreign workers in Qatar have their passports held by employers. Those reports have continued in the interim, and that’s why promised fixes mean nothing until they are implemented and enforced in the small nation.

Qatar has already benefited in massive ways from the awarding of the tournament, with its population at an all-time high due to temporary workers.

Any sort of fixes are hard to believe, not because of the race of the Qatari people, but because when people with loads of dough are making loads more dough by utlize people as something close to slaves, they tend to avoid making changes.


WATCH: Ex-Barcelona midfielder Xavi scores a wonderful free-kick on debut for Qatari club


Xavi, who left Barcelona after 16 seasons with the Catalan club, started his career in Qatar with a bang as he scored a nifty free-kick in a 2-1 loss for his new club Al Sadd.

The 35-year-old played in his first match for his new club in a preseason friendly as the teams warm up for the upcoming top flight campaign. Al Sadd finished second last season, five points behind Lekhwiya for the championship.

Leaving Barcelona on a free transfer this summer after the expiration of his contract, Xavi signed a three-year deal with Al Sadd that is reportedly worth around $11.7 million per season.

The Qatari Stars League begins competitive play on September 11.