The explosive topic of qatar only appears under item twelve on the agenda for the FIFA executive meeting on thursday and friday – behind beachsoccer and various junior world championships.
However, the world soccer association has long since stopped talking down the mountain of problems surrounding the controversial 2022 world cup. The small gulf state faces new accusations of human rights violations. The possible postponement to the winter months continues to occupy those responsible and has even prompted the german soccer league (DFL) to take action.
But the focus is on the inhumane conditions on the world cup construction sites, which, according to the british newspaper "guardian," have cost the lives of 44 nepalese guest workers alone in just two months. Former DFB president theo zwanziger is the first high-ranking FIFA official to call for an investigation by the world governing body’s ethics committee. "In the overall complex of qatar, this is another point of view that had to prompt the FIFA ethics committee with mr. Garcia and mr. Eckert to carefully investigate the world cup award to qatar," zwanziger, who is considered a clear opponent of the world cup, told the "frankfurter allgemeine zeitung" (saturday).
The so-called kafala system, according to which foreign workers without local citizenship are not allowed to enter or leave qatar, is apparently also applied to professional soccer players. According to the report, clubs from the qatari league have not paid foreign professional soccer players and have refused to allow them to travel to their home countries. Corresponding research by the international football players’ union fifpro is available to the "frankfurter allgemeine sonntagszeitung (FAS)".
"For the qataris i was nothing but a slave. They think they can get away with anything and buy anything with money – skyscrapers, companies, nice cars – and people," complained the former moroccan national player concerned, abdeslam ouaddou. According to the "FAS", FIFA has been investigating for several months already. There is no result so far.
It is rather doubtful that this will be presented at the executive meeting. But FIFA is under pressure. A good nine years before the world cup kicks off, calls for an early whistle (international trade union federation) or a boycott are growing louder. The serious allegations of corruption surrounding the awarding of the world cup had already cast a dark shadow over the first world cup in the gulf and called the FIFA ethics committee into action. The final report of the chief investigator michael garcia is still pending. The american had announced this at the FIFA congress in may until september at the latest.
In addition, there is still a controversy about the possibility of moving the world cup to the winter months. DFL wants to coordinate its position with the bundesliga clubs. "We first have to be clear about what we want. Whether, for example, a change in the game schedule should be temporary or permanent," DFL managing director andreas rettig told the "welt am sonntag" newspaper.
To that end, the DFL will launch a survey next week among all those who have been affected by a change in the match schedule. Rettig explained the DFL campaign, which is being carried out in close cooperation with the DFB, by asking "club managers and players, but also TV stations, stadium operators, player advisors, ticketholders, fans and even turf experts" for their opinions. "From this survey, we will develop a common position and then look at how we can make it a majority position internationally."
Because of the high temperatures in the summer of up to 50 degrees in qatar, the tournament should be moved to the winter months. According to rettig, the DFL and DFB insisted that FIFA should not yet make a final assessment because of the many questions that remain unanswered. There was a lot to talk about on thursday and friday. By the way, russia won the world championship in beachsoccer.