Qatar 2022: Garcia FIFA report reveals $2m paid to a 10-year-old girl’s account

Picture shows the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha after its renovation ahead of the 2022 World Cup. (AFP/Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy)

After repeated corruption allegations were brought forth regarding Qatar’s winning the rights of the World Cup in 2022, FIFA asked its then-chief ethics investigator Michael Garcia to compile a report into the bidding nations for both World Cup, which he produced in 2014.

FIFA at the time refused to make the 430-page investigation public, and instead released a 42-page summary report compiled by FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert, which Garcia promptly disowned.

German newspaper Bild has said it is exclusively releasing the entire report on Tuesday and Wednesday but it’s lead journalist Peter Rossberg has released several of the report’s findings on social media.

Garcia revealed that three FIFA Executive Committee members accepted an invitation to travel to Rio de Janeiro on a private jet at the expense of the Qatar Football Federation and received money before the vote to host the 2022 World Cup.

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, left, and Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Misned hold the World Cup trophy after the announcement of Qatar hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. (AP)

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar, left, and Sheika Mozah bint Nasser al-Misned hold the World Cup trophy after the announcement of Qatar hosting the 2022 soccer World Cup in Zurich, Switzerland, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. (AP)

A former member of the Executive Committee congratulated members of the Qatar Union and thanked them by e-mail for transferring hundreds of thousands of euros directly after Qatar was granted the hosting right.

Another finding released by Bild newspaper from the Garcia report found that $2 mln from an unknown account may also have been sent to the account of the daughter of a member of FIFA who is only ten-years-old.

The Qatari bid also used access to its state-of-the-art Aspire Sports Academy in Doha, which had satellite operations in five countries with FIFA voting members, to influence voters. They used the academy to “curry favor with executive committee members”, Garcia wrote and that “those actions served to undermine the integrity of the bidding process”.

But in the summary report compiled by Eckert, this was changed to: “potentially problematic facts and circumstances” which “were, all in all, not suited to compromise the integrity of the FIFA World Cup 2018/2022 bidding process as a whole”.

Garcia conducted an internal FIFA investigation into the hosting of the two events by Qatar and Russia, under which the Judicial Chamber of the International Ethics Committee announced that while there was suspicious behavior, they did not amount to the withdrawal of the organization right from them.

Ethical dilemma

Qatar has been ranked in the top five countries in the world when it comes to the prevalence of modern day slavery, according to the Global Slavery Index 2016 by the Walk Free Foundation. Qatar’s construction sector has been the “dominant form of slavery reflecting the demand of cheap labor to build infrastructure related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the country’s National Vision 2030.”

A newly released report by the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) spoke on the security issues and travel difficulties tourists face should Qatar still have the right to host. “World cup organizers, officials and team members will face travel difficulties and restrictions due to the boycott of airspace from neighboring countries,” the report said. Several Arab and Islamic nations like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have broken off diplomatic ties with Qatar. Those four nations also cut off links with Qatar’s borders and seaports.

Several nations are boycotting Qatar for its history of sponsoring extremist and terrorist groups over the years. Some observers have called into doubt the ethical dilemma FIFA faces in allowing Qatar to host the World Cup after the German Football Association’s (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel said that “the football community worldwide should agree that … major tournaments should not be played in countries that actively support terror.”

 FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014, file photo, men talk by the sea overlooking the Qatar skyline in Doha, Qatar. Amnesty International said Thursday, May 21, 2015, that Qatar is failing to deliver on reforms for its low-paid migrant workers a year after the wealthy Gulf nation announced plans to improve conditions for laborers building its highways, hotels, stadiums and skyscrapers. (AP Photo/Rob Harris, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2014, file photo, men talk by the sea overlooking the Qatar skyline in Doha, Qatar. Amnesty International said Thursday, May 21, 2015, that Qatar is failing to deliver on reforms for its low-paid migrant workers a year after the wealthy Gulf nation announced plans to improve conditions for laborers building its highways, hotels, stadiums and skyscrapers. (AP Photo/Rob Harris, File)

This comes especially as FIFA Statutes states that “FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights”. In addition, article 24 of FIFA’s Code of Ethics states that “Persons bound by this Code shall respect the integrity of others involved. They shall ensure that the personal rights of every individual whom they contact and who is affected by their actions is protected, respected and safeguarded.”

Qatar, which has long been under fire from rights groups for labor abuses and is under pressure from the United Nations to make changes, has said it is working to improve conditions.

Several reports have said at least 1,200 workers have died while working on Qatar’s world cup sites. The International Trade Union Confederation estimates at least 4,000 more workers will die before the start of the tournament in 2022 if Qatar does not change its policy.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
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