2022 World Cup

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Investigation: Migrant workers still being exploited on Qatar World Cup jobs

1 Comment

An investigation conducted by Amnesty International, a British organization focused on human rights, revealed that thousands of migrant workers are still being exploited for unpaid labor and poor living conditions related to construction projects for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

[ MORE: Top Premier League storylines: Week 6 ]

Amnesty’s investigation into three Qatari companies — Hamton International, Hamad bin Khaled bin Hamad and United Cleaning — revealed that at least 1,620 workers had filed complaints over months of unpaid wages. Some were eventually paid a portion of what they were owed in exchange for dropping their cases, while some left the country and returned home with nothing.

Qatari officials had repeatedly promised, after nominal pressure had been applied by FIFA, to enforce stricter standards on company’s regarding their treatment of workers.

[ MORE: Man City’s David Silva in “likely” Inter Miami move ]

“Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers,” Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International’s deputy director of global issues, said. “Either the reforms are being done very slowly, or they are not being implemented properly or they are not being done at all. As a result of that there are still thousands of workers who are not being paid properly, they are not getting justice, or are living in poor conditions.”

FIFA unveils logo for 2022 World Cup in Qatar

Photo by Mohammed Dabbous/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Qatar finally has a logo for the 2022 World Cup, and it reflects both the tournament’s compact infrastructure and winter schedule.

[ MORE: Premier League considers re-extending summer transfer window ]

Using the colors of the Qatari flag, the white emblem is set against a maroon background.

It is inspired by the contours of the World Cup trophy with the unbroken loop depicting a figure of eight — the number of stadiums built for the Middle East’s first World Cup in the tiny Persian Gulf nation.

FIFA says the design also draws “inspiration from a traditional woolen shawl,” a winter garment reflecting the World Cup being played in November and December 2022 to avoid the fierce summer heat in June and July when the tournament is usually played.

The reveal came at 2022 local time (8:22 p.m.) in Doha and the image was projected onto buildings in the Qatari capital, including the Al Zubarah Fort, and appeared at sites in Kuwait, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq.

[ MORE: Jamaica women’s team on strike after not being paid ]

Other countries in the region played no role in the launch.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been boycotting Qatar economically and diplomatically since 2017, and its severing of travel links could prove problematic for fan travel in 2022.

Among the international sites where the logo was displayed on Tuesday was the Arch of Peace in Milan and a train station in Paris.

Qatar won a FIFA vote in 2010 that has been dogged by controversy. A FIFA investigation found that some of Qatar’s conduct “may not have met the standards” required while concluding there was no “evidence of any improper activity by the bid team.”

Working conditions and rights for migrant laborers building the stadiums in Qatar were also criticized, forcing standards to be raised.

Infantino tells Iran to let women into World Cup qualifiers

Photo by Pool/Getty Images
Leave a comment

FIFA President Gianni Infantino had asked Iran to ensure women are allowed to attend 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Now he’s expressing disappointment the country has reneged on its commitments.

In November, Infantino was in Teheran for the Asian Champions League final when Iranian women were allowed to watch Persepolis play Kashima Antlers of Japan. But things have changed since then.

[ MORE: Rabiot picks Juventus ]

Infantino wrote this week to Iranian soccer federation president Mehdi Taj to say it’s “all the more disappointing that it was not possible to keep up the positive momentum and to continue with similar progress.”

In a letter seen by The Associated Press, Infantino highlights a June 6 game between Iran and Syria when “the gates were closed to female spectators and when, it would appear, a number of women seeking to attend the match were detained by security forces for a number of hours.”

Infantino says he wants “concrete steps” from the federation by July 15 “to ensure that all Iranian and foreign women who wish to do so will be allowed to buy tickets and to attend the matches” for 2022 World Cup qualifiers which begin in September.

—More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Platini arrested as part of 2022 World Cup investigation

Getty Images
2 Comments

PARIS (AP) Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested in relation to the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a judicial official said Tuesday.

Confirming a report by online news publication Mediapart, the official said Platini was taken into custody on Tuesday as part of the investigation into the awarding of the tournament. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Platini, a former France soccer great, was being detained at the Anti-Corruption Office of the Judicial Police outside Paris. Claude Gueant, the former secretary general of the Elysee under former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was also questioned by investigators as part of the probe but was not detained.

French financial prosecutors have been investigating the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and previously questioned former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. France’s financial prosecutor services opened the investigation on grounds of private corruption, criminal association, influence peddling and benefiting from influence peddling relating to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which were awarded to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

Platini’s lawyer and adviser did not immediately answer messages from The Associated Press seeking comments.

Much intrigue has centered on Platini’s decision to vote for Qatar.

Blatter, who was FIFA president at the time of the vote in 2010, blamed Platini for backing out of a secret “gentleman’s agreement” to award the 2022 tournament to the United States.

Platini told the AP in 2015 that he “might have told” American officials that he would vote for the United States bid. However, he changed his mind after a November 2010 meeting, hosted by then-President Nicolas Sarkozy at his official residence in Paris and Qatar’s crown prince, now Emir, Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani.

Platini has long insisted that the meeting did not influence his vote for Qatar less than two weeks later.

“Sarkozy never asked me to vote for Qatar, but I knew what would be good,” he told the AP in 2015.

But Blatter claimed in a 2015 interview with the Financial Times that Platini told him ahead of the World Cup vote: “I am no longer in your picture because I have been told by the head of state that we should consider the situation of France.”

Both Platini and Blatter were toppled from their positions of power at the top of soccer in 2015. Platini was banned by FIFA for financial misconduct in relation to a $2 million payment authorized by Blatter – a suspension due to expire in October.

Qatar’s methods to bring the World Cup to the Middle East for the first time have been subject to investigations by FIFA. American attorney Michael Garcia found that some of Qatar’s conduct “may not have met the standards” required by FIFA but concluded there was no “evidence of any improper activity by the bid team.”

AP Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris in Nice, France, contributed to this report.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

AP Sources: Qatar set to host next two Club World Cups

2022 Supreme Committee for the Delivery & Legacy for the FIFA World Cup Event via Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Qatar is set to host the next two editions of the Club World Cup.

People with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the FIFA Council will be asked later Monday to endorse Qatar for the seven-team club tournament this December and in December 2020.

[ MORE: Liverpool looks to lock up Klopp ]

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the choice of venue ahead of the council meeting.

The event, which will feature European champion Liverpool this year, will test Qatar’s preparedness to stage the 2022 World Cup, including being played at the same time of year.

FIFA moved the World Cup from the usual June-July slot for 2022 because of the Gulf nation’s summer heat. It will instead start on Nov. 21, with the final on Dec. 18, Qatar National Day. Qatar experiences highs of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) in December.

The decision to give Qatar the Club World Cup comes two weeks after FIFA settled on 32 countries contesting the 2022 World Cup rather than expanding to 48 teams.

The Club World Cup is also enlarging but not until 2021, when it becomes a 24-team competition held every four years.

The 2019 and 2020 Club World Cups will be the final versions with only the six continental club champions and the winner of the host’s domestic league. In Qatar, that will be Al-Sadd, which is coached by former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez.

The Club World Cup has been held in the Middle East before, but only in the United Arab Emirates. The UAE has hosted four editions, including when Real Madrid won the title in December.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports