Blood on the pitch


The decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar didn’t bother me in particular, for me, World Cups are a chance to watch great footballers playing for teams I don’t have a vested interest in.  That changed when reports of hundreds of deaths of foreign migrants, allowed in to build the infrastructure required to host the tournament.

The Indian embassy in Qatar report that the death rate of their nationals involved in construction projects in Qatar is reaching epidemic levels.  233 died in 2010, 239 in 2011, 237 in 2013 and 241 in 2013.  24 died in January this year, a total of 998 since the beginning of 2010.  This is a blight on humanity.

The Guardian revealed that 197 Nepalese died in 2012 and 185 died in 2013.  Many of the deaths are no characterised as classic construction accidents, the heat and environmental conditions, together with the lack of facilities for immigrants, mean many die of ‘natural’ causes, including heart failure, there are other nationals there too, also dying in alarming numbers.

Labour MP, Jim Murphy, last month said, “Some of the practices we know are taking place in Qatar amount to forced labour, and there are widespread concerns that the death toll could reach well into the thousands if nothing is done.”  The International Trade Union Confederation estimate (without needing to extrapolate greatly) up to 4,000 workers could die before the country is ready to host the tournament.

The prospect of a sea of blood on the pitch has not been enough to convince Fifa to call a halt to the slaughter, or at least use the threat of withdrawal to ensure migrants experience safe and humane living and working conditions.

As the tournament draws nearer, pressure groups will become better organised, but by that time, many more will have died.  As fans, or, in this instance, to adopt our more effective role as consumers of TV and companies who sponsor the tournament, we have a lot of work to do, and we need to start now.

Before Fifa act they will need a lot of encouragement from sponsors, unhappy at the prospect of their brands being associated with a death trade, and they will need approval from the lawyers.  Qatar ‘invested’ hugely in football as they were busy vacuuming up votes, including buying real estate on the front of Barcelona’s shirts, once regarded as an ethically responsible club.  The platform association with UNICEF looks like blatant opportunism.

Today’s Telegraph offers Fifa a chance to call a halt to the project.  They allege former Fifa vice president, Jack Warner and his family, were paid $2m just weeks after Qatar were awarded the tournament.  The Qatar authorities deny wrongdoing.

This is perhaps the most important article concerning the football industry in decades as it opens a door to stop the despair of thousands of workers living in abject poverty and mortal danger.  According to the Telegraph, law enforcement agencies are already active on this issue.  They need to quickly establish if the Qatar bid was assisted by criminal activity before the tournament can be withdrawn.  The danger is that irrespective of what law enforcement agencies uncover, or who ultimately goes to jail, there is so much illicit cash floating around Fifa that those in positions of power will protect their paymasters.

Before this happens, you, me, our clubs, and whoever cares from the various football associations, must organise and turn up the pressure on the criminals with their snouts in the Fifa trough.  If we pass up on this opportunity, we could wait decades for the next chance to rid the top of our game of criminals.

Seville – The Celtic Movement is available now:

“Of course we’d loved Blackburn, Stuttgart, Liverpool etc, but with twenty minutes to go in Oporto, I sat with my stomach recreating a range of football related sinking feelings from the past. You know, being told I was ‘rubbish’ by the high school team prima donna as another of his cannonball passes rocketed out for a shy under my foot, or the time I ran home from primary school to watch Celtic lose to…. someone…on a black and white television during the seventies. I’ve never wanted to find out who we lost to or what year it was. The memory is more intriguing left blurry like footage of the moon landings.”

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  1. 79caps.. a Mr D Moyes of Manchester bought the sieve on ebay in July 2013… feedback was positive and he uses it most weeks :)

  2. Sheik Yerbouti


    What has normal practice ,regarding referees, to do with Sevco?





    Blood on the pitch?



    There’s blood on my rep thanks to LinkedIn.






    Away to lick my wounds.



    Oh,and apologies again.

  4. Paul67,



    FIFA officials involved in what is in essence bribery “scandal”?


    Jack Warner in particular?






    FIFA under Blatter is becoming more and more like the old IOC, with the Bold Sepp in the Samaranch role. The commonality between these deaths and those of the Chinese who worked on the “Birds Nest” Stadium in Beijing is sad but not unsurprising. Albeit thoise games were several years after Samaranch’s “retirement”.



    As for those poor workers, long has it been known that the Indian/Sri Lankan/Bangladeshi workers are treated more like animals by the Arabs (and indeed in other “advanced” countries in Asia too) with little or no concern for their welfare. And not just in regards to the World Cup stadia in Qatar, but across many of the new skyscrapers in the UAE as a whole.



    Yet another indictment of money, prestige and profit being put miles ahead of human welfare.









  5. time for change on

    Sheik Yerbouti




    12:11 on 18 March, 2014




    Is it normal practice to have the same referee


    For a replay like the sevconians did




    Apparantly yes!

  6. time for change on




    Warner and family have been accused of all sorts since they became involved with FIFA……….



    This will end up a catch 22 situation….remove the World Cup and their families will have a loss for nothing…….pressur should be for proper compensation…………this particular World Cup is going to have the biggest ripples on the rest of world football.




  7. I see others are suggesting what I said yesterday: I don’t think Dundee Und are certainties to beat the deid team. They were very poor against St Mirren and only fluked a win.

  8. Other beneficiaries of the Qatar World Cup bid include Zinedine Zidane and Ronald (ebt) De Boer, who were paid vast sums for being “ambassadors” (i.e. PR merchants).



    De Boer has denied that all the deaths in Qatar have anything to do with the World Cup, so perhaps Paul67 had better check his sources.

  9. Am I right in thinking that Warner has already been accused of corruption but got away with it?



    Hope your campaign takes off, Paul67, as it looks as if the Qataris are treating their workers dreadfully.

  10. Sheik Yerbouti


    It is normal practice for sevcos referees to award them penalties that no one else saw’helpful free kicks and a different rule book from every other team on the planet.


    Meanwhile being over zealous in administering the rules to. Their opponents.


    Simple stats highlight this and in any other country it would be a scandal.


    Normal service has been resumed.

  11. I think it is normal practice for the same ref to take a replay where possible.



    A quick look through a few of this year’s replays shows that:in happening several times: in the fourth round Clyde v Stranraer – Alan Muir for both. Ayr v Dunfermline – Stephen Finnie for both. Brechin v Forfar – John McKendrick for both.



    But Stranraer v Inverness in the fifth round had Kevin Clancy for the original and Alan Muir for the replay. Queen of the South v St Mirren in the fourth round had Kevin Clancy and then John Beaton. Perhaps the original ref simply wasn’t available for the replay?



    Mind you, it would be normal practice for any ref who awarded a “goal” like the one The Rangers were given in the first match against Albion Rovers to be demoted to schoolboy football at best.

  12. Paul67



    The whole governance structure reeks of corruption from FIFA through UEFA to our own SFA.



    Sponsors definitely can provide leverage. In fact I was talking to a small business sponsor of the SFA who was unhappy at their silence over events surrounding Rangers. He was even unhappier after a briefing and intends letting the SFA know.



    Football is the people’s game and it has been hijacked by charlatans and tricksters protected from outside intervention because of its popularity.



    That popularity is on the wane because of the stench that surrounds the modern “game”.



    Perhaps instead of looking for a way out to the EPL, well run clubs should form their own EPL, the Ethical Premier League where fair play rules are there to be observed in spirit as well as letter, not an inconvenience to be negotiated around.

  13. I’d welcome pressure from all sorts of sources about the appalling conditions these guys are working and dying in. And to highlight the corruption and nepotism among football authorities.



    Imagine the irony though if the SFA come out and condemn the latter!



    HH jamesgang

  14. parkheadcumsalford



    Accused of corruption and gets away with it! Did not realise Warner worked for the SFA!!!

  15. One life lost is to many.



    on another matter



    If you do not have a good reason for donating…………






    get started going about it TODAY.



    BT is like a pin cushion



    BT is

  16. the long wait is over on




    Staggering , scandalous statistics on those death rates.



    I’m not being facetious when I say it’s probably no worse than the death toll the Pharoahs incurred in building the Pyramids.

  17. the long wait is over on

    “I’m not being facetious when I say it’s probably no worse than the death toll the Pharoahs incurred in building the Pyramids.”



    should read



    “I’m not being facetious when I say it’s probably AS BAD AS the death toll the Pharoahs incurred in building the Pyramids.”

  18. On FF they are waging war again on a Celtic supporting female, writing to her employers and trying to get her dismissed. Here’s their intention, right here…



    “She’ll hang herself eventually. Keep on her case.”




  19. Just noticed hun strip from last night,1872 on back of brass neck…do none of the creditors


    want their money back?




    Watching ‘Minder’ ,con man doing all and sundry out of fousaaans,regi plate on car ‘FF 1’


    How very apt Terry !

  20. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on




    THAT is horrendous…..what are FIFA thinking about……this needs to stop NOW….. speechless that human life can be considered as being so ‘cheap’…..what the hell is going on in the World these days…….

  21. Bom dia,



    Good article, Paul.



    The whole FIFA organization is a paragon of corruption (or at least it was). From Havelange, down thru his son-in-law (and in my top five for most loathsome man on the planet) Ricardo Teixeira and outwards to such places as Jack Warner’s Trinidad.



    These people (and their ilk) make the shenanigans at the Asbestdosdome look like a small, insignificant sideshow in football (mis)management. Which, I suppose it really is.



    Wonder what, journalist Andrew Jenning’s is making of all this?



  22. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    winning captains



    12:45 on 18 March, 2014



    …and some on here / in the media want them back……..hunbelievable……the Dark Side, right enough…..but, then, some of us already know that….!!

  23. In my personal opinion, without knowing anything for definite and without accusing anyone of anything, the whole Qatar bid stinks, the wole Russian bid stinks and the whole of FIFA stinks….and as for Jack Warner, well I would have expected a lot better from Dixon of Dock Green

  24. Around the time Celtic played Ujpest Dosza a contestant in a radio phone in quiz was asked what is the capital of Hungary? the reply was Ujpest Dosza!

  25. leftclicktic We are all Neil Lennon on

    The corruption starts in wee places like the 6th floor and just grows & grows as it reaches out to the UK then onto UEFA then finally FIFA (IMHO) of course.



    As my mam is prone to say “This needs nipped in the bud”

  26. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on



    I too remember running home to see us vs ujpest doza (maybe more than once?) Perhaps around 1970?



    I also remember a few years later taking a half day to watch Celtic live on TV in europe (around 1975ish)


    But it wasnt just me it was most of the boys from St Andrews too


    The folowing day the assistant headmaster came round each registration class and told all the absentees to report to the office for the strap


    by the time I got there, a crowd of around 150 “cheeky young whipersnapers had assembled and were singing “furitsa grand old team” outside the headies office




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