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David Scott: ‘FIFA’s Record In This Doesn’t Inspire Confidence’

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(Credit: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

(Credit: KARIM JAAFAR/AFP/Getty Images)

With the scenes from Brazil fading to memory, soccer fans now look not toward Russia in 2018, but rather, the horrors unfolding in Qatar in preparation for 2022.

In a shocking HBO report entitled The Price of Glory in Qatar, David Scott chronicles the “modern-day slavery” of foreign workers and the “collective denialism” of Qatari citizens as the country prepares to host the World Cup in eight summers.

While we knew human-rights violations were occurring, hearing about it is one thing; seeing it is another.

When all is said and done, will Qatar actually host the World Cup?

“You’re starting with the hardest question,” Scott said on The John Feinstein Show. “It’s such a tough call. We spent hours and hours mulling over this and debating it back and forth. Obviously it’s impossible to say at this stage. Certainly FIFA’s record in this stuff doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, but that’s what Michael Garcia is (trying to figure out).”

Garcia, FIFA’s independent investigator, plans to release a report on Qatar in September. It is unknown whether he will interview former FIFA vice president Mohamed Bin Hamman, who allegedly paid more than $5 million to various high-ranking soccer officials before the 2010 vote that awarded the tournament to Qatar.

Once the report comes out, we should have a better idea of FIFA’s intentions for 2022.

“I will say this,” Scott said. “If there is any way FIFA can avoid undoing his result, it probably will – because then things get complicated real fast. FIFA’s record on responding to alleged scandal is not a very good one, frankly.”

Regardless of what FIFA decides, the events unfolding in Qatar are undeniably horrific.

“It is shocking to see the industrial scale of the labor problem in Qatar,” Scott said. “(There are) hundreds of thousands of men living literally on top of each other in the labor camps. There aren’t many countries that maintain labor camps. It actually puts Qatar in very grim company (with) North Korea and a handful of other fascist states.”

“But let me try and set the scene for your listeners,” Scott continued. “You have hundreds of thousands of men living in this place called the industrial zone on the outskirts of the city in mostly cinder-block, two-story dormitories where they pack them eight to a room – 12 to a room sometimes. The kitchens are filthy, the bathrooms are hard to describe (and) there are no shower facilities – so the men wash their bodies in the toilet area with buckets or in the open air in these group troughs.”

And that’s before we get to the working conditions.

“When you combine (the living conditions) with the absolutely excruciating heat these men are working in outside all day long, every day, six days a week, you can see why the mortality and morbidity rates are so high,” Scott said. “By the government’s own figures, something like 500 migrant men die every year in Qatar in a combination of construction accidents, suspicious heart attacks and other – what the government calls natural causes – but what are widely suspected to be the result of the body breaking down under the conditions, and a fair amount of men give up in despair and commit suicide.”

If you wonder why the men just don’t leave, well, they can’t. By law, they cannot quit, change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission.

“It is absolutely the perfect storm of labor disfunction,” Scott said. “While I will say that Qatar has done a lot of smart things with this windfall of natural gas and oil money, they’ve made devastating choices about how they’re (dealing) with foreign migrants.”

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