In one of the stranger stories of this year or any other year, a group of reporters from two German TV networks, who were producing a film on FIFA corruption, were arrested in Qatar, detained and not allowed to leave the country for days.
The journalists working for German public TV networks ARD amd WDR were shooting a documentary on the FIFA corruption that led to Qatar being chosen as the home of the 2022 World Cup. According to WDR, the reporters’ equipment including computers, cameras, and mobiles were confiscated by the Qatari police and subsequently destroyed.
ARD reporter Florian Bauer had long been a critic of FIFA president Sepp Blatter and was working on a documentary called “The Selling of Football: Sepp Blatter and the Power of FIFA” which was scheduled to air in Germany on Monday. Bauer tweeted:
#Qatar2022 ahead of new criticism. Arrested in #Qatar, all material erased, equipment demolished. What is #fifa saying to this?
— Florian Bauer (@FloBauerAuthor) May 4, 2015
According to WDR, the team was arrested by police after interviewing several workers in Doha, Qatar, then held for questioning by the secret police:
“The WDR employees were not allowed to leave Qatar for five days. The camera equipment, laptops and personal mobile phones were confiscated and … returned only with a four-week delay. All data has been deleted and damaged pieces of equipment.”
The selection of Qatar for the 2022 World Cup has long been a bone of contention especially as reports surfaced that $5 million in bribes were paid to ensure the event would be held there. In addition, conditions for migrant workers have come under scrutiny in the wake of hundreds of construction deaths from the building of stadiums for the World Cup.
Even if the Qatari’s did not do FIFA’s bidding in arresting and detaining the journalists, it certainly looks corrupt and as if the country has something to hide. No comment from FIFA and once again, it appears that Sepp Blatter is hiding under his desk.
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