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.
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.