NGO calls on FIFA to ensure Israeli citizens can attend World Cup in Qatar

FIFA’s code of ethics specifically prohibits the discrimination of nations and banning people based upon, their country of origin.

By
September 6, 2019 10:02
A computer generated image of Lusail Stadium that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup final, in Qatar

A computer generated image of Lusail Stadium that will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup final, with seating capacity of 80,000, in Lusail City, north of central Doha, Qatar. (photo credit: REUTERS)

International NGO, StandWithUs, is requesting that The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) ensures that the Qatari government will allow Israeli citizens to receive entry visas into the country for those who want to attend the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA’s code of ethics specifically prohibits the discrimination of nations and banning people based upon their country of origin.

“To date, Israel is not included in Qatar’s online list of nearly 250 nationalities and territories eligible for an entry visa. Like most Arab states (with the exceptions of Egypt and Jordan that have peace treaties with Israel) Qatar does not recognize Israel and bans Israelis from entering,”  the NGO said in a statement.

Article 22 in the FIFA Code of Ethics evidently states that “offend[ing] the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions on account of race, skin colour, ethnicity, nationality, social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason” is strictly prohibited.

The main issue throughout this matter is the arising juxtaposition between the Qatari administration and the FIFA code of ethics.

There are many laws, practices and views that Qatar is complicit in, which contrast with FIFA's Code of Ethics.

According to the Independent, there have been claims that the Qatari workers completing the 2022 World Cup stadium in Doha are actually indentured slaves, in addition there are fears that LGBTQ will not be allowed in the country due to the overall view of the group in Arab-Muslim communities worldwide, as well as human rights violations against the women of their country - including restricting female travel.

Guardianship laws require females under the age of 25 to travel abroad with a male parent’s consent, according to the Qatari Interior Ministry’s website. These measures restrict women who may need to travel abroad out of necessity, for education, visiting a relative or for medical needs.

The Saudi news agency Al Arabiya states Qatari men can – and do – apply to the courts in order to prevent their wives from traveling.

“Married women are entitled to travel without permission irrespective of their age,” the Qatari Interior Ministry’s website states. “In case the husband doesn’t want her to travel, he has to approach the competent court to prevent her journey.”

The same rules, however, do not apply to men. According to the ministry’s website, men are allowed to travel freely once they reach the legal age of 18: “No permission is required for those who are 18 years old or more as they have reached the legal age of puberty.”

Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based Cornerstone Global Associates, claims that current sponsors of the 2022 tournament might be inadvertently promoting ethical values that they themselves to not publicly stand for - big name sponsors such as Coca Cola, Adidas, Hyundai-KIA, Visa, Wanda Group, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Vivo.

There is a possibility that these companies might pull-out as sponsors of the 2022 World Cup in order to maintain their public image - even though FIFA maintains a strict code of ethics aimed at promoting all around equality, the laws of the host country are questionable in this field.

“StandWithUs urges FIFA’s Ethics Committee to investigate and judge the conduct of the Government of Qatar in this matter to ensure that football fans from all states, nationalities and territories will be allowed entry to Qatar so they may participate in the 2022 World Cup. If Qatar is allowed to ban Israeli fans from entering this will reflect negatively on FIFA, which has made inclusion a primary hallmark of their ethos,” Roz Rothstein CEO and Co-Founder of StandWithUs said.

In contrast to fears, Hassan al-Thawadi, the leader of the country’s World Cup organizing committee, has previously stated in 2017 that Israeli fans would be welcome into the country for the 2022 tournament.

“It’s a simple thing. Everyone is welcome to Qatar. What we ask is that when people come, just to respect – we’re a relatively conservative nation... all we ask is that every fan who comes in, and every fan is welcome, is we ask that people respect that,” said al-Thawadi.

More than 1.2 million soccer fans from all over the world are expected to pour into the tiny country in what many fear will be a huge culture clash for a Muslim country.

In addition, the tournament in Qatar has been clouded by reports of corruption that Qatar bought their way into becoming the host country for the 2022 tournament.

When the Los Angeles Times “uncovered decades of bribery totaling more than $150 million,” Sepp Blatter who served as FIFA president at the time resigned from his position after he and at least nine other FIFA executives were put under investigation by Sweden and the United States for being involved in the ongoing scandal.

Recent reports now claim Qatar offered a total amount of $880 million to FIFA to host the 2022 World Cup, according to a report by The Sunday Times.

The amount was composed of a $400 million secretly paid to FIFA by Al-Jazeera, the Qatari state-run television channel, for broadcasting rights, out of which $100 million are a bonus for winning the ballot for hosting the competition, and an additional $480 million offered by the state of Qatar, three years after the initial offer.

“In the event that the 2022 competition is awarded to the state of Qatar, Al Jazeera shall, in addition to the rights fee, pay to FIFA into the designated account the monetary amount of $100m,” the documents revealed by The Sunday Times read.

The documents revealed might be of use in the investigation conducted by the Swiss government on money-laundering suspicions involving the 2022 World Cup bid.

FIFA refused to comment on the allegations.

Anthony Hardwood,.Alon Einhorn and Emma Mcavoy contributed to this report.


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