German reporters were this week arrested in Qatar, interrogated by police and detained for days whilst making a documentary on Fifa corruption.
Journalists from German broadcasters, ARD and WDR, have claimed that they suffered extreme treatment while attempting to film a documentary in Qatar.
According to tweets sent out by journalist, Florian Bauer, members of the Qatari intelligence service deleted documentary footage, destroyed their equipment and detained the journalists for a number of days.
The allegations add to a long list of claims already directed at FIFA, Qatar and the 2022 World Cup.
Bauer asked FIFA to comment on allegations ahead of the airing of the documentary on German television last night.
The reporters claim that their documentary features incriminating evidence which proves corruption in Qatar’s successful World Cup bid.
Apparently also set to prove corruption in Russia’s bid, WDR released a statement in German on their website last night.
Translated by the kind folk here at Pundit Arena (Thank you Günther), the statement reads as follows:
New evidence of corruption in World Cup awarded to Russia and Qatar
The ARD documentary “The selling of football – Sepp Blatter and the power of FIFA” provides new evidence that Corruption was involved in the awarding of the Russia 2018 and Qatar in 2022 World Cups.
A member of the Executive Committee of the world football governing body FIFA, which was involved in the election, has admitted business deals were conducted around the time of the award with leading companies in Qatar and Russia. The Chairman of the Technical Evaluation Committee for FIFA had previously given Qatar and Russia the worst reviews for their concepts. Nevertheless, Russia and Qatar prevailed among other high-profile competitors from England, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as USA and Australia.
In addition, the documentation provides evidence of the misappropriation of funds by a FIFA Development African Federation President, who will be entitled to vote in the election of the FIFA President on 29 May. Bank documents prove the receipt of the corresponding payments and cash withdrawals to the sum of the account. On request, FIFA declared that only their determination chamber could talk about it. The investigation chamber again stated that based on the rules that determine FIFA, they could not respond to the allegations.
During the filming of the documentary, a camera crew from West German Broadcasting was arrested in Qatar. The station had reported in recent years in many of the preparations of the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the living conditions of workers in the country. In vain, the team had for weeks been trying to get permission to shoot and asked senior government officials for interviews about the announced labor law reforms and the living conditions of migrant workers.
The WDR team was arrested while filming workers in the Qatari capital Doha, then interrogated by the State Security, and only released after 14 hours in the middle of the night. The WDR employees were not allowed to leave Qatar for five days until the Qatari foreign minister gave them permission. Their camera equipment, laptops and personal mobile phones were confiscated and – contrary to other commitments also to the German Embassy in Qatar – returned only with a four-week delay. All data has been deleted and equipment has been damaged.
The documentary “The selling of football – Sepp Blatter and the power of FIFA” can be seen on Monday, 4 May 2015 at 18.00 clock in the library the first. WDR television airs again on Monday, 11 May 2015 from 22.00 to 22.45.
Here at Pundit Arena, we have Sepp Blatter’s face up on the office dart board. We’ve already ranted at length about FIFA corruption and at this stage, nothing really surprises us.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in the coming days but based on prior allegations, in all likelihood, this is just another story that FIFA will turn their backs to and brush under the rug.
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John Murphy, Pundit Arena