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Qatar: the cup is already full
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Qatar: the cup is already full

In the collective imagination, corruption evokes personal enrichment, suitcases of cash, individual privileges. No one ever thinks of the consequences it generates for society.

In the same way, if you evoke the excesses of football, your interlocutors will talk to you about big money, crooked agents, astronomical salaries. If need be, they will complain about the fact that a few clever or talented men get rich when the supporters struggle to buy a place at the stadium, a jersey, a season ticket.

Qatar: the Élysée meal and nausea
© Mediapart

But the World Cup in Qatar vividly reveals that small arrangements have far greater consequences than individual profits. During the now famous meal in November 2010 at the Élysée Palace during which, among other things, the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar and the takeover of PSG were played out, were the protagonists aware of the terrible spiral in which they put Doha?

Click here to read our dossier “The World of Shame”

Did Michel Platini, Nicolas Sarkozy and Claude Guéant imagine that by pushing Qatar’s candidacy, they would indirectly cause the death of thousands of workers on the stadium sites? Did they realize the climatic disaster that the competition would cause? All accompanied by a calamitous political signal: if a Panini album of the leaders of authoritarian regimes existed, the Qatar crest would shine prominently there.

Since the awarding of this World Cup, we have therefore tried to document these elements as well as possible. Discovering them, re-reading them or simply browsing through them in the summary that follows makes it possible to realize the extent of this global scandal, in which France played a central role. Because yes, contrary to what President Emmanuel Macron asserts, it is today impossible to distinguish sport from politics..

Click here to read our article denouncing this “Le Mondial de trop”

First, it should be remembered that the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar is not an isolated event. Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the president of PSG, has been indicted for “active corruption” in the judicial investigation into the awarding of the world athletics championships to Qatar. In 2011, a company he owned with his brother paid $3.5 million to the son of the president of the International Athletics Federation.

But don’t go looking for corruption where there is none! Text messages revealed by Mediapart showed that the ex-number 2 of Fifa, Jérôme Valcke, had received in 2015 a watch worth some 40,000 euros just after a crucial vote on the move to winter of the 2022 World Cup: Swiss justice dismissed the investigation for corruption.

No legal sanction either for the affair of the villa that the president of PSG generously made available to Jérôme Valcke.

© Illustration Justine Vernier / Mediapart

In France, the list is long of coincidences that interest anti-corruption justice. Over the years, we have discovered that after his departure from the Élysée in 2012, the former president personally benefited in his private affairs from the support of the State of Qatar. Having become a lawyer again, he also won contracts with two major French bosses, Lagardère (six months after a Qatari fund became the group’s largest shareholder) and Bazin (former boss of PSG who became boss of the hotel group Accor), even suspected of having taken advantage of the mobilization of the French presidency in favor of Qatar.

Click here to read “Secrets of Qatargate”

More recently, we revealed that the former president even appealed to Qatar in 2011, a few months after the World Cup was awarded, to settle a debt from his 2007 campaign that he had not paid off.

And we also related how Pierre Sarkozy, son of and DJ by profession, was in 2010 more interested in Platini than in his turntables: he was one of the protagonists in the sale of PSG to Qatar.

How to preserve such secrets? Our latest article details how Nasser al-Khelaïfi asked his butler, when threatened with a search, to rush to clean his house and burn incriminating documents.

the Sunday Times also recently revealed that our main journalist working on the awarding of the World Cup, Yann Philippin, like some English journalists and in total a dozen personalities, had been the subject of surveillance and a hacking attempt from the State of Qatar through an extremely sophisticated attack aimed at gaining access to its documents and messages.

Exploited workers, abused environment

The conditions for awarding the World Cup are not the only subject of interest to journalists, however. Because we then had to document the consequences. And first of all, the conditions in which the country was transformed in view of the World Cup: forced or unpaid labour, hellish speeds under extreme heat… Migrant workers have lived through hell.

Thousands of them died, without it being possible to determine their exact number. (Also find our portfolio on migrant workers who won the right to play football once a week.) The French construction group Vinci itself has just been indicted for having generated billions of euros “to the detriment of humans”.

In addition to the convicts of the construction sites, our special correspondent Rachida El Azzouzi also met in Qatar domestic workers made invisible and mistreated in the intimacy of private homes where they are recluse.

But the consequences are also to come. Seven of the eight stadiums built are air-conditioned, an energy aberration. Above all, during the World Cup, a plane will transport supporters every ten minutes between Qatar and its neighboring countries. Each day, more than 160 low-cost flights will be offered to fans residing in countries neighboring Qatar to attend the matches.

The promise of carbon neutrality made by Qatar is not credible for a moment, as explained by the researcher Vincent Viguié in our program “À L’air libre” dedicated to Qatar, which discusses at greater length all the elements cited in this article.