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.

Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

Updated 15 November 2019

Saudi esports world cup winner a ‘class’ role model for young players: Gaming chief

  • Prince Faisal said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s 2018 FIFA eWorld Cup winner Mosaad Al-Dossary was the kind of role model young players should be looking to emulate, according to the Kingdom’s esports gaming chief.

President of the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronics and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS), Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan, told Arab News he was “proud” of Al-Dossary for his esports achievements and for showing “his class as a human being.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum, in Riyadh, the prince said the fast pace of technological advances was changing not only how people lived but their view of sport.

Equating esports to traditional sports, he stressed it was important that young people moderated their time playing video competitions. 

“Moderation in everything,” he quoted his father as telling him.

“Everything has its positives, within reason. I don’t expect our professional (esports) players to be playing for 18 hours a day. What we advocate is having good mental health, social health as well as good physical health.”

Prince Faisal said it was important that youth chose their heroes carefully, and Al-Dossary was an example of the perfect role model. 

“I’m proud of him for all of his many accomplishments in gaming, but I’m prouder of who he is as a person.”

He noted that during Al-Dossary’s winning participation in the Manchester FUT Champions Cup, in the UK, one of the tournament’s young competitors had fallen ill and was taken to hospital. Al-Dossary had ducked out of victory celebrations to go and visit his sick opponent, taking with him the green scarf awarded to world cup qualifiers which he left on the young man’s bedside table as a gift.

“I’m prouder of him for doing that, brightening up his opponent’s day, than I am of him winning the world cup,” the prince said. 

“He showed his class as a human being, not as an esports player. And that’s what we expect of all of our athletes and all of our young kids across all industries and sports.

“That’s the caliber of person that we have in Saudi, in our communities and that’s what I want to showcase to the world.”

Prince Faisal admitted that online harassment could be a problem, but said it was a global issue that could only be solved through education.

“There are errors, and esports and gaming is a new era, and it’s a new era of accessibility. Along with that comes a learning curve and an education curve,”he added.