Qatar may be stripped of 2022 World Cup: FIFA whistleblower
London: Qatar is likely be stripped of its chance to host the 2022 World Cup, according to a FIFA whistleblower who was a former senior figure in the country's bid team.
Phaedra Almajid, who turned whistleblower to expose the corruption, has said the abundance of evidence of the wrongdoing in Qatar's bid would force the world football governing body FIFA to relieve the Gulf country of the responsibility of staging the tournament in 2022.
Almajid is an Arab-American based in the United States who worked for Qatar's 2022 bid till early 2010.
Qatar shocked the world by winning, in 2010, the right to host the 2022 event. Since then, allegations of bribery and wrongdoing about their bid have been rife within FIFA.
Almajid said she hoped justice is done but that the prospect scared her a lot as she fears some “extremists” may identify her responsible if Qatar is punished. She is under protective custody of America's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but fears for her safety, should the oil-rich country lose out on hosting rights.
“There are people who are pissed off with me [for speaking out], and what really pisses them off is that I'm a female, Muslim whistleblower,” Almajid was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Saturday.
She also said outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter might take away the 2022 tournament as part of his reform agenda to win him praise “and save his skin”.
Blatter quit days after winning a fifth four-year team to become president after getting engulfed in the FIFA corruption scandal. He is under investigation by the FBI for possible wrongdoing.
“I just don't think Blatter actually intends to quit. Everything he does is very calculated. He'll try very hard to save himself, I'm sure of it,” Almajid said.
The FBI arrested seven top FIFA officials and indicted 14 people for financial misdemeanour. Almajid said efforts to force her into retracting her comments have taken place earlier, which forced her to take protective custody in fear of her family's safety that includes two children, one of them severely disabled.
“The FBI have everything,” she claimed.
Almajid also co-operated with a FIFA-funded probe led by Michael Garcia, a former US attorney for New York.