London: Qatar are likely be stripped of the 2022 World Cup, according to a FIFA whistleblower who was a former senior figure in the country’s bid team.
Phaedra Almajid, who turned whistleblower to expose the corruption, has said the abundance of evidence of wrongdoing of Qatar’s bid would force world football’s governing body FIFA to strip the Gulf country of the responsibility.
Almajid is an Arab-American based in the United States and worked for Qatar’s 2022 bid team till early 2010.
Qatar shocked the world by winning the right to stage the 2022 event in 2010. Since then allegations of bribery and wrongdoing about their bid have been rife within FIFA.
Almajid said she hoped justice is done but the prospect scares her a lot as she fears some “extremists” may identify her responsible if Qatar is stripped. She is under protective custody of America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) but fears for her safety, should the oil-rich country lose out on hosting rights.
“There are people who are p***** off with me (for speaking out), and what really p***** them off is that I’m a female, Muslim whistleblower,” Almajid was quoted as saying by dailymail.co.uk on Saturday.
She also said outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter might take away the 2022 tournament from 2022 as part of his reform agenda to win him praise “and save his skin”.
Blatter quit days after winning a fifth four-year team to become president after getting engulfed in the FIFA corruption scandal. He is under investigation by the FBI for possible wrongdoing.
“I just don’t think Blatter actually intends to quit. Everything he does is very calculated. He’ll try very hard to save himself, I’m sure of it,” Almajid said.
The FBI arrested seven top FIFA officials and indicted 14 people for financial misdemeanour. Almajid said efforts to force her into retracting her comments have taken place earlier, which forced her to take protective custody for the fear of her family’s safety that includes two children, one of them severely disabled.
“The FBI have everything,” she claimed.
Almajid also co-operated with a FIFA-funded probe led by Michael Garcia, a former US attorney for New York.