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.


Bayern eager to stop Super Cup becoming virus hotbed

Updated 54 min 57 sec ago

Bayern eager to stop Super Cup becoming virus hotbed

  • Up to 20,000 spectators would be allowed by UEFA into Budapest’s Puskas Arena in a piloting project to test the return of fans into stadiums
  • Bayern legend Rummenigge anticipates “less than a thousand” Bayern fans will actually make the journey and only around 500 Sevilla fans are expected

BERLIN: Bayern Munich boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists the German giants want to prevent Thursday’s UEFA Super Cup showdown in Budapest turning into a super spreader event due to a high Covid-19 infection rate in the Hungarian capital.
On Monday, Bavaria premier Markus Soeder warned against the fixture becoming a “football-Ischgl,” referring to the Austrian ski resort where thousands of holidaymakers were infected with the virus at the beginning of the pandemic in Europe.
“I really get a stomach ache when it comes to the Super Cup” Soeder added of Bayern’s game against Europa League holders Sevilla in a coronavirus red zone.
Rummenigge echoed Soeder’s comments on Wednesday, insisting Bayern Munich have “every interest in ensuring that no Ischgl of football takes place” in Budapest.
“I think everyone’s stomachs are churning. The game will take place in a city with a rate of infection of over 100 (per 100,000 inhabitants), which is twice as high as that in Munich,” Rummenigge told broadcaster ZDF.
“That has to be taken seriously.”
Up to 20,000 spectators would be allowed by UEFA into Budapest’s Puskas Arena in a piloting project to test the return of fans into stadiums.
However, Budapest’s mayor Gergely Karacsony wants the game played without fans.
“If I had the legal means to decide that, I would let the game take place behind closed doors,” he told Hungarian newspaper Nepszava.
The Hungarian FA (MLSZ) released a statement Wednesday saying the “Puskas Arena will be safer than any other place in the country.”
The MLSZ pointed out that Sevilla and Bayern fans can only enter the stadium after “strict health checks,” will be kept seperate and “will not meet with Hungarian fans.”
Rummenigge anticipates “less than a thousand” Bayern fans will actually make the journey and only around 500 Sevilla fans are expected.
“We have a great interest that they come back healthy and that nobody in Budapest gets infected,” emphasised Rummenigge.
He has promised a “serious and disciplined” approach with both Bayern and Sevilla offering traveling fans Covid-19 tests.
The Bayern chief also pointed out that to “all those who say that you really have to be extremely careful with the subject. We are.”
Bayern initially had an allocation of 4,500 tickets but hundreds of fans opted not to travel after the German government declared Budapest a risk zone.
European champions Bayern are also flying to Budapest with a small delegation of officials after being heavily criticized when a group of senior figures sat bunched together in the stands for Friday’s 8-0 rout of Schalke.
Rummenigge was among the group not wearing masks and seated close together in the VIP stand for the opening game of the new Bundesliga season.
“At the next game we will keep the desired distance and wear masks, no problem,” said the 64-year-old.