by Luke Blackstock -The change of employer for 25-year-old, Brazilian footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Jr and a diplomatic crisis halfway around the world apparently have no link. Neymar has become the world’s most expensive footballer after signing for Paris Saint-Germain, and priced away from one of its biggest clubs.
A new partnership between FIFA and the Qatar state-run airlines was announced. As part of the agreement Qatar Airways will be an Official Partner and the Official Airline for the world soccer body. The 2017 and 2021 Confederation Cups and the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are included in the partnership. The 2022 World Cup will be hosted by Qatar.
The announcement by President Gianni Infantino of FIFA that it will establish an oversight body to monitor working conditions on World Cup stadium sites in Qatar shows that FIFA is beginning to take responsibility for those whose work is essential to the holding of the 2022 event.
Five years to the day since Qatar secured 2022 World Cup hosting rights, Amnesty International says the Gulf nation has done little to “address rampant migrant labor abuse”. Qatar has made pledges for labor reforms and the 2022 World Cup committee has introduced a workers’ charter. But the kafala system of tied employment has yet to be overhauled to ease restrictions on workers’ rights.
The official chosen by FIFA to inspect 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting candidates was banned from football for seven years for breaking ethics rules. FIFA’s ethics committee gave no reason for its decision to suspend Harold Mayne-Nicholls, a former president of Chile’s soccer federation who is disputing the sanction.
Head of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee says World Cup hosts could change as a result of ongoing investigation. Domenico Scala says if any evidence of wrongdoing is found by the ongoing criminal investigations into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the rights to host the tournament could be stripped.
Good news for South America: FIFA will not make any changes to the allocation of World Cup slots among the six continents for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Russia and Qatar, president Sepp Blatter said during the first meeting of the new Executive Committee in Zurich.
European football's leaders are to meet on Thursday in a bid to postpone FIFA's presidential election. UEFA said Friday's vote should not go ahead after bribery and racketeering charges were laid against senior officials in football's governing body. “These events show, once again, that corruption is deeply rooted in FIFA's culture,” UEFA said.
FIFA has ruled out a re-vote on awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar as Swiss authorities prepare to question ten executive committee members about the corruption-tainted bidding process.
The International trade Union Confederation is calling on FIFA delegates to support Jordan’s Prince Ali in this week’s election for FIFA President, following Ali’s re-affirmed commitment on labour and other human rights. The other two challengers to incumbent Joseph Blatter, Luis Figo and Michael van Praag have withdrawn from the race.