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Showing posts from March, 2014

Egypt's Sisi ditches uniform, quits as defence minister (JMD quoted on AFP)

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Qatar likely to reform controversial labour system

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By James M. Dorsey
‎Qatar is preparing a radical overhaul of its controversial kafala or labour sponsorship system in response to mounting criticism that threatens reputation capital it hopes to gain from hosting the 2022 World Cup.
The expected reform is likely to include shifting sponsorship of foreign workers, who constitute a majority of the tiny Gulf state's population, from individual employers to the government. It would also allow workers to seek alternative employment without permission of their sponsor after a period of notification. Qatar would further work with the major supplying countries to establish regulated employment agencies to cut out corrupt middlemen.
It was not immediately clear whether the‎ changes once announced would satisfy international trade unions and human rights groups that have denounced the kafala system as modern day slavery and called for its abolition.
Pressure is mounting on Qatar with world soccer body FIFA president Sepp Blatter schedulin…

Military-backed house cleaning extends to Egyptian soccer

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Outgoing Al Ahli chairman Hassan Hamdi suspected of corruption
By James M. Dorsey
Efforts by Egypt's military-backed government to clean the country not only of its political critics but also of businessmen with close ties to ousted President Hosni Mubarak extended into soccer this week with the arrest on corruption charges of Hassan Hamdi, the longstanding chairman of. Al Ahli’s SC, Africa's most crowned and popular club.
The arrest of Mr. Hamdi, who has long denied charges of wrongdoing, were first levied against him during the reign of President Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brother toppled by the military last year. It came amid an apparent power vacuum in advance of presidential elections in which various institutions, including the security forces and the judiciary, are jockeying for position. A date for the registration of presidential candidates is expected to be announced this weekend.
That vacuum is a reflection of a backroom tug of war between the military and former b…

Qatar firm ‘paid $2m’ to FIFA official, family (JMD quoted on Al Arabiya)

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Qatar firm ‘paid $2m’ to FIFA official, family
Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner (R) allegedly received a $1.2 million payment from a Qatar-based firm owned by Mohamed Bin Hammam. (File photos: Reuters) Text size AAA By Staff writer | Al Arabiya News, Dubai
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 A Qatari firm paid almost $2 million to a senior FIFA official and his family just after the Gulf state won its controversial bid to host the 2022 World Cup, a UK newspaper has claimed. Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and his sons were paid $1.95m by a company controlled by former Qatari football official Mohamed Bin Hammam, an investigation by The Telegraph found. A further $400,000 was allegedly paid to one of his employees. The FBI is now investigating Warner’s alleged links to the Qatari bid, The Telegraph reported.
The allegations were made by The Telegraph, based in London The Telegraph reported that Kemco, which is said to be owned by Hammam, “appeared to pay $1.2 million to Mr Warner in 201…

Bin Hammam payments question Qatar World Cup bid and FIFA/AFC anti-corruption efforts

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Mohammed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner 
By James M. Dorsey
Media reports of questionable payments by a company owned by banned former world soccer body FIFA vice president and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammed Bin Hammam to another disgraced former FIFA executive committee member, Jack Warner, raise renewed questions about Qatar’s controversial winning of the right to host the 2022 World Cup as well the integrity of FIFA and the AFC’s efforts to root out corruption.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the Doha-based Kemco Group wholly owned by Mr. Bin Hammam, a Qatari national who was banned by FIFA in 2012 because of “conflicts of interest” during his AFC presidency and FIFA vice presidency, had paid some $2 million to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner and others related to him shortly after Qatar was awarded the World Cup.
In a statement to the Telegraph, the Qatari committee responsible for World Cup-related infrastructure rejected any knowledge that would call…

Qatar labour controversy becomes part of Gulf dispute over Muslim Brotherhood

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By James M. Dorsey
Saudi-led efforts to isolate Qatar because of its support of the Muslim Brotherhood have expanded to exploit criticism of labour conditions in the Gulf state in advance of the 2022 World Cup.
Arab trade unions and non-governmental organizations have added their voices to criticism of Qatar by international trade unions, human rights groups and world soccer body FIFA. The Arab criticism appeared however to be motivated more by mounting pressure on Qatar from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt than concern for workers’ welfare.
In an interview with Al Monitor,  Abdul Wahab Khudr, an adviser to the Egyptian Trade Union Federation and editor of the Arab Workers News Agency, said that the International Federation of Arab Trade Unions was considering deposing Qatar as its president in advance of next month’s Arab Labour Conference in Cairo. Mr.  Khudr said that the move was being discussed because Qatar had refused to allow the creation of trade un…