Liverpool refuse luxury Qatari resort over human rights concerns

Workers at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski told The Guardian of multiple breaches of labor law by their employers. (Shutterstock)
Updated 04 November 2019

Liverpool refuse luxury Qatari resort over human rights concerns

  • The English club turned down the five-star Marsa Malaz Kempinski, which has been accused of labor law violations
  • Liverpool travel to Qatar next month for the Club World Cup

LONDON: Liverpool have refused to stay in a luxury Qatari hotel allocated to them for the FIFA Club World Cup over human rights concerns. 

The European champions are set to travel to Doha in December for the competition and were offered the five-star Marsa Malaz Kempinski as their base, according to a report on The Athletic sports website.

But Liverpool rejected the exclusive venue on the Pearl-Qatar artificial island after discovering the resort has been accused of violations against its workers.

Liverpool have informed FIFA and the Qatari authorities of their decision and have relocated to a hotel on the mainland that did not generate similar concerns, the report said. 

Liverpool will fly to Qatar to take part in the Club World Cup in December. (AFP/File)

A Liverpool spokesperson told Arab News that the club performs “due diligence as a matter of course ahead of every trip and this covers a wide range of issues.”

“As a result of this we requested a different hotel to be allocated to us for this trip.”

In an investigation last year by The Guardian newspaper, staff at the resort alleged multiple breaches of Qatar’s labor laws, including being paid below the minimum wage.

Many said they were paying off debts owed to recruiters in their own countries, while security guards had to work 12 hour shifts in temperatures of 45C.

The decision by Liverpool will increase concern over the 2022 World Cup, which has been dogged by allegations of human rights abuses. The claims have focussed on the treatment of workers building the stadiums and infrastructure for the tournament.

As a result, Qatar has been forced to reform its foreign labour system but in September a report from Amnesty International found thousands of workers were still going unpaid.

Qatar’s bid to win the hosting rights for the World Cup has also been plagued by corruption allegations. A criminal investigation is underway in France into the voting process to award one of the world’s largest sporting events to the tiny Gulf state.

There is also concern over the welfare of fans from relatively liberal societies, attending international sporting events in Qatar, which has strict laws on social conduct.

Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore said on Monday the club has been given assurances by Qatari authorities that their LGBT supporters will be welcomed for the Club World Cup which runs from Dec. 11-21.

Moore said Liverpool, who as European champions will feature in the Dec. 18 semi-final, had held talks on a number of issues.

“We have sought and received information on match tickets, hotel provisions, stadium readiness, safety issues, cultural matters and a whole host of other issues. No stone has been left unturned,” he said.

Arab and Muslim fans mourn Kobe Bryant’s death

Updated 27 min 26 sec ago

Arab and Muslim fans mourn Kobe Bryant’s death

  • All passengers on board of helicopter died
  • NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he will remember Kobe as more than an athlete

DUBAI: The sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Monday has stirred fans around the world.

The player died after the private helicopter he was traveling in crashed, erupting in a ball of flames in Calabasas, California. His daughter Gianna, 13, was with him.

LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said there were no survivors, all eight passengers and the pilot died.

Arab fans from across the region took to social media accounts to mourn the death of the player.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was all fake news. A couple of tears came out of my eyes… my heart was beating really quickly and my face turned red. Kobe was more than a basketball player to me, he was a real life superhero. He motivated me to give it my all with anything I do, he’s the main reason why I decided to play and watch basketball,” Journalism student at the American University of Sharjah Amro Eldahshoury told Arab News.

And posts calling Bryant a legend and offering condolences filled Twitter.

“Tomorrow is not granted, love each other today. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash… he has taught us a lot about work and doing what one loves,” Cofounder and CTO of MarkeetEx Sharifa Al-Barami tweeted on Monday.

Another NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar mourned Bryant’s death and said he will remember him “as a man who was much more than an athlete.”

Celebrities with Arab descent or who are partly Arab took to Instagram.

Gigi and Bella Hadid posted images of the player, offering condolences to his wife over the loss of her husband and daughter and praying for the families of those affected by the crash.

Shanin Shaik, a model of Saudi descent, captioned an image of the player saying “Legends live forever.”


Legends live forever

A post shared by SHANINA SHAIK (@shaninamshaik) on

Another model of African-Arab roots, Imaan Hammam, also took to Instagram to honor Bryant. She urged people to value their blessings because of the fleeting nature of life.

But Bryant was also loved by people who were not even basketball fans.

“It shocked me. Kobe the basketball legend has died in a helicopter crash. It all just seemed so paradoxical. I was not that into basketball but I’ve always loved Kobe. I loved how humble he was. I loved his sense of humor and his kindheartednesses. Rest in peace legend, my heart goes out to his wife and kids,” AUS graduate Moza Al-Nabouda told Arab News.

Kobe Bryant played 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, before he retired in 2016. He was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

Bryant had two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.