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. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    i kind of get the feeling that since the lying king has nothing to say that


    sevco have a plan for


    the accounts in march


    to pay the vat bill


    to pay the wages bill



    i kind of hope they do, and postpone their 15 point admin deduction until next season.

  2. leftclicktic We are all Neil Lennon on

    I remember running in and watching the Lions on the telly take a draw away from home, through the tears I could not understand my da & uncles whooping it up and saying what a great result.



    Cant remember who it was but I just didn,t understand the importance of still being in the “big Cup” after an away leg and bringing them back to parkhead I just wanted to win every game as a child.

  3. The awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar stinks to high heaven.



    Lots of brown envelopes changed hands in the lead up to the vote. Platini was one of those who voted for Qatar.



    …and many other slimmy toadies who are only involved in the game’s governance for purely selfish reasons.



    Horrible individuals.



    The beautiful game stinks.




  4. Bom dia.



    Libertadores Group Stage – Round 4 games start tonight and I’ll be off to the Maracanã to see if Botafogo can make amends for the “chorus n’ verse” they made of things in Ecuador last week.



    PS. Had a quick swatch at the bookies odds on these earlier on. Looks like (for once) I’m pretty aligned with them (which in itself is a worrying thing). However, I’ve feeling that there MAYBE at least one “shock” result this week, but it’ll take a braver man(or woman) than me to predict where (as long’s it’s no the Maracanã the night).



    Anyway, here’s the night’s games (ko times shown are UK times)……..



    22:45 Nacional (Urg) v Atletico Nacional (Col)


    Nacional are struggling a bit just now and lost again on Saturday (however, that doesn’t mean too much. Most teams field understrength sides before Libertadores matches). They will be without key midfielders Arsimendi, Gonzalez and striker Santiago Garcia and look to youth to replace them.



    Atletico have, so far, not lived up the high expectations of them in this tournament. That being said, last week’s gritty performance to grind out a 2-2 draw with Nacional did have a lot of encouraging signs. There’s a feeling that Atletico lack several players to make this a cup winning side and too much weight is put on midfielder Edwin Cardona’s shoulders, with forward Santiago Trellez, in particular being the fans favourite “boo boy”.



    Too much at stake for both in this one.


    Prediction : DRAW



    22:45 U.Chile (Chi) v Real Garcilaso (Per)


    U.Chile won the away leg of this last week, 2-1 and should be too good at home for Garcilaso. La U are in a rebuilding phase just now (reputedly looking for a new manager) and desperately need a new right back and striker.



    It’s pretty much all or nothing for Garcilaso in this one. Garcilaso will be without veteran Paraguyan striker, Victor Ferrerya who is replaced by his diminutive countryman Digno Rodriguez up front.



    I can’t see either of these two teams making much of a dent on this competition.


    Prediction : HOME WIN (80%)



    01:00 Botafogo (Bra) v Independente de Valle (Equ)


    Botafogo are hell bent on getting something from the Libertadores this year, but are making a right meal of doing so (between Libertadores and domestic, they’ve not won in their last six games). With two players red carded last week, they will reshuffle the side and look for the wing backs to exploit the wider Maracanã.



    IDV had a good 4-2 away win with a reserve side at the weekend. Uruguyan manager Pablo Repetto playing the PR game on this one and putting great influence on how the partisan crowd at the Maracanã “influence refereeing decisions”.


    Prediction : HOME WIN (75%)



    01:00 Santa Fe (Col) v Zamora (Ven)


    Last week’s shock 2-0 defeat at Zamora was a bitter blow for Santa Fe. Santa Fe had a moral boosting 2-0 win in Saturday’s domestic league and they’ll be desperate to make amends here.



    Zamora are on a bit of an upswing just now with strikers Ramirez and Falcon both netting in their last outings (they won 3-0 at the weekend). Zamora seem to be quite an attack minded team and it remains to be seen how they’ll fare against a more offensive Santa Fe this time around.


    Prediction : HOME WIN (75%).



    01:00 Velez Sarsfield (Arg) v The Strongest (Bol)


    Velez fielded a second string side in their 2-0 defeat at La Paz last week and will be an entirely different prospect in Buenos Aires. However, Velez have also lost their last three matches (they lost again 3-1 at the weekend) and are struggling to find consistency right now. However defender Facundo “Chino” Cardozo (the only first team member in Velez’s defeat at La Paz) has promised that Velez will “play differently in this game. We will outplay them with possession football tonight”.



    The Strongest had a 3-1 win at the weekend and travelled on Sunday with a full side for this one.


    Prediction : HOME WIN (70%)



    03:15 Santos (Mex) v Dep Anzo (Ven)


    Santos will be hoping to confirm a passage to the next round in this match and with a good 3-1 win at the weekend, where striker Oribe Peralta notched up his hundredth goal, confidence should be high. Only injury worry is right back, Cesar Ibanez who suffered a heat stroke in the weekend match.



    DANZ (as they’re locally known) had no match this week and are likely to field the same side which secured a surprise 1-1 draw with Santos last week.


    Prediction : HOME WIN (85%)

  5. Is the seville book available on the kindle ?





    I normally scroll past chat about sevco .. What happened in 1st leg against albion rovers ?

  6. The Battered Bunnet on




    I much preferred his earlier work with Al Jolson and later Jimmy Cagney.

  7. The Honest Cover-up on

    Great article, Paul.


    The picture you paint of FIFA is one of the reasons why I feel so indifferent towards international football. The fact that FIFA don’t pay any tax revenues to the host nation is ridiculous too. Blatter has a brass neck so shiny that even Campbell Ogilvie would stand back and admire. He simply must be removed.


    The only way to end this is for customers to pressure the major sponsors. People power can achieve amazing things. The World Cup used to be a wonderful celebration of football for the people. Now it is an opportunity for rich people to exploit poor people and become even richer.


    Interesting point you raise about Barcelona. I have long since stopped being in awe of the “more than a club” aura that surrounds Barca. The Qatari sponsorship, their enormous debt and the recent carry on with Neymar’s tax dodge deal show they have become just another grotesque corporate monster. One of the benefits of being stuck in Scotland means our club is sheltered from this horrible world.

  8. TBB,



    I was going to refer to that Jack Warner but knew that only the mighty few would get the reference if I said I expected more of Sam’s brother.

  9. South Of Tunis on

    Paolo Maldini wades in ————



    ” They have killed my Milan ”



    Who are ” they ” ?



    Silvio Berlusconi


    Barbara Berlusconi.


    Those responsible for signing players who Paolo thinks arent fit to wear the shirt.


    Big cheese suits with big cheeze egos..


    Players who care more for Facebook / Twitter and their latest tattoo than they do for a going down the pan AC Milan..



    Warm and sunny , 24 degrees at 2pm -way down south

  10. winning captains



    13:25 on 18 March, 2014


    proudbhoy – yes it is or will be shortly….





    Happy days



    I’ll be getting it there.



    Thanks WC

  11. jist in fae the jiggin’……..




    Ma Admiration fur Kris Commons.. NOO,Knows Nae Bounds.



    Yes, it’s Trew!.. So, Trew!!!!!



    Ah am Astonished tae find… that.. A Fitba Player noticed..



    Whit Kojo Hiz Noticed..n .. fur Donkeys n Donkeys!!







    Maist Fitba’ players.. well .. It Appears tae Me..



    Do NOT notice.. whit.. Kris hiz..well… Noticed.



    So, Hence .. My Unfettered Admiration, Fur oor Kris.



    He noticed that he PIcked up.n .. Felt… Nigglin’.. Bothersome… almost Imperceptible.. Naggin’.. Physical Injuries..



    Whenever,he returned tae.. NORMAL CETLTIC type Trainin’. at Bhoyz Town… oan hiz Return….. fresh, fae..



    International Dooty.



    Sometimes,those Injuries were so severe,that On HIs Return from International Duty


    they Put him oan The Unavailable n Injured List of his Parent Club.



    Yep.. International Trainin’ Methods.. wur Not … n…. are Not.. the CELTIC type o’ Trainin’ Methods or Routines..


    n…which wur Those tae


    which his Boady had Become Accustomed.




    As a Maitter of Course…. Many a New Incoming Player tae Cetic..



    Faces, a Similar Risk… of Suffering… a .. A So Called.. TRAINING INJURY.. During, his Initial Introduction tae the Sudden Change in Training Methods n Procedure.. which now compose the Menu Du Jour at Celtic..on his Arrival, at Parkheid oan the Clyde.



    n… which, ur… so, so,


    Different, from those tae which he his Boady… Hid become satisfactorily inured tae, at hiz Auld Club..





    So.. Whenever a Player, leaves his Comfortable Well Kent Nest..n.. Sallies forth. tae


    International Duties.. He, Unfortunately, Noo Must Face..



    An ABRUPT..n.. Very often… NOCUOUS CHANGE ,in his Physical Well Being..



    which has Bin Brought oan.. strictly, by This Sudden Change in Trainin’ Procedure. tae which He Noo Has Fallen Heir.




    Different Coachin..n…. Different.. Trainin’ Routines …in MANY CASES… Lead, tae the Player in the Story.. Experiencing, a very NOCENT Effect tae His Over All Fitness.



    Don’t ask me tae Explain the Cause of it.. tae yer extreme Satisfaction..



    Fur Ah canny.. although, Ah may try.



    Suffice tae say..



    Ye Bettah Believe it.., So…. jist,Haud yer Wheesht~






    Yer Boady,Simply… disnae Cotton tae.. Change .. It Disnae Lke It..



    It hiz jist goat Used tae A Certain Type of “ABUSE.”



    Which It hiz Finally Over come..



    N.. suddenly… Ye hiv Upset awe it’s Plans.. by Choppin n Changin.. yer Training Routine.



    Ye hiv made it Mad..



    Therefore..Yer Boady Rebels.. n.. Punishes,yer .. well.. Ass…ets!



    So.. There!



    Yep.. it’s gey Trew.






    Many a Celtic Player has Returned tae us..carrying a Physical Injury, after completing his International Dooty..



    N THAT… should Not be so Surprising tae MA readers..Noo, that Ah HIv Let the Cat oota the Bag Regarding, the Dark Doonside.. that A Fitba’ Player must Overcome.. if


    he, defies the Trainin’ Gods…N chooses tae Represent His Country.



    Maist, although ..NOT AWE.. of the Debilitating Injuries,suffered by Fitba’ Players who ur Picked tae represent thur


    Country , ur inflicted oan the TRAINING FIELD..


    NOT.. on the PLAYIN’ FIELD!



    Noo, Ye Know.









    It should Be ,,, Debunked, Defunked.. n.. ForSaken!







  12. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on

    Gary Gillespie


    for avoidance of doubt


    i dont mean the famous golfing town of St Andrews


    I mean the much less famous secondary school in Clydebank!

  13. What happened in first leg of huns/rovers game ?



    Was pen given or offside goal ?


    Apologies for the frivolous nature of my 1217 post.



    It was based on the heading of the article,and in context unforgivable.



    As is the treatment alluded to by Paul and The Token Tim.



    It is,however,endemic in areas where life is cheap and easily bought.



    That the biggest festival in the world is being held on the back of insouciance,bribery and negligence is perhaps not our problem as we are unable to influence it.



    That we are unable to influence it is to our shame.

  15. On the blog this morning my feelings have been all over the place. Reading back I saw Neustadt-Braw’s printing of the “town I love so well”. It took me back sixty five years to the days when the Derry boat sailed from the Broomielaw and Prince’s Pier Greenock to Derry. Arriving at 6 a.m. we all struggled with cases and bags over to the Swilly depot for the bus to Greencastle. As we waited in the dark for the 8 a.m. bus, we were anticipating the days at the beach, even a free ride on the ferry to Magilligan if the uncle or some other relative was skippering the boat. Then day’s outings to Carn for the horseshow, trips to Derry to the aunt living in the Long Tower area and eventually in the Creggan were the norm in those days.



    I also remembered my last trip a year ago when I stood on the peace bridge and thought just how far Derry has come since then. Suffering and pain caused to so many has not been forgotten, but the town as the song suggests has moved on. Long may it prosper!



    Then I read Paul’s article today and I was saddened by what is happening in Qatar in the name of football. Injustice and lack of concern for human life has long been the modus operandi of those whose god is profit. Football has been completely taken over by financial concerns whose only interest is lining their own pockets.



    In our own country we have seen how the law can be set aside and ignored by the SFA, so we can count them out in trying to bring about justice in the workings of FIFA and UEFA. How do we go about trying to influence these organisations? Stop going to things they organise? Would we be prepared to boycott Champions League nights? Few of us could afford a ticket to a FIFA World Cup Final, so we would be ineffective there. Or do we try to go along the lines proposed by those who promote Fairtrade, stop buying goods from the sponsors of these events. Does that include TV, etc.? In a sense, I am addressing these questions in print to myself. Perhaps I am also hoping others on here will have answers to how we can make our voice heard in favour of those who are being placing in slavery by commercial interests.

  16. Once A Bhoy..... on

    I don’t believe there will much eagerness among FIFA officialdom to investigate Warner. This will need to be carried out by an outside party. The allegations of vote rigging over the years suggests many in their corridors have much to hide.



    That said the unnecessary loss of life must prompt Governments to highlight the situation and push for action.

  17. I think after the bad publicity the Brazil World Cup is getting in terms of cost, deaths etc that maybe the Qatar World Cup might be the last to get played in any one country. I think FIFA might go down the UEFA route and take the World Cup finals around the world. One set of group matches in North America, South America,Australia, Asia,Africa and Europe. Then maybe play last 16 games in same continent. Play quarter finals in nearest continent and then maybe choose one country to host semis and final. Maybe it might not suit certain UEFA bigwigs but after the anger at the cost of hosting these events maybe even Platini and Blatter might cave in. Celtic Park to hold 2026 World Cup final?

  18. thomthethim for Oscar OK on

    A very good post fromTSFM.



    We are all sleepwalking towards the total destruction of the game and unless supporters of all clubs combine and forget the petty ya boo chanting at each other and cop on, the game is irretrievably lost.



    There is not much time left.



    *****justshatered says:


    March 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm


    94 0 Rate This



    The debate regarding the UTT and LNS is, in my mind, getting side tracked.


    I really have no interest in whether the EBT scheme was legal or not except as an every day tax payer.


    If they do lose the appeal I hope HMRC go after “the same club” for their money because the tax man knows the truth regarding the ‘holding company” farce and he should present the bill at the front door of Ibrox.



    This is not about tax law. It is about FOOTBALL LAW and FOOTBALL LAW was broken, ignored, and trampled underfoot not just by RFC but more importantly by the SFA.


    This is the crux of this problem. A generation and a half of football fans have been cheated out of a fair competition it really is as simple as that. Every penny spent by every fan, and I include RFC/’The Rangers’ in this, has been paying to watch an empty vessel of a series of competitions. It is a disgrace that, when this information is in the public domain, those charged with upholding the laws of our sport are bigger cheats than the perpetrators of the initial crime. They have bent over backwards to find ways NOT to do their job.



    However, as I said last night, the clubs themselves are perfectly happy with this otherwise they would be demanding the people in power leave their positions with immediate effect.


    Perhaps fans of every club should hold up banners against their own boards condemning their tacit agreement in this farce.

  19. antipodean red on




    With the game heading into the closing stages and Albion Rovers 1-0 up and looking good, a cross ball goes into the box and the Sevconian jumps into the Rovers goalie and bundles him and the ball into the net, the MIB immediately awards a goal despite vigorous protest from the Albion Rovers players, business as usual.




  20. I'm Neil Lennon (tamrabam) on



    having spent a fair amount of my life in the middle east, including Qatar, I reckon that the Qatar WC bid is about prestige. Probably a large number of folks had never even heard of the country until it won the WC bid.



    For Qatar their prestige can easily be affected by highlighting the plight of so many, however in truth Qatar is no worse (and better than some) of the Gulf countries in that respect.Their prestige can easly be turned to their shame and that may be more effective than a boycott of goods or games.



    For me though, I am bewildered that this tiny country has won the greatest show on Earth. They bought it. They bought the votes of the corrupt FA representatives from a great many countries. Not just one. Let there be no doubt about it.


    Perhaps we should also ask ourselves if they were the first and the only country to do this.



    Those countries who sold their votes should not be allowed to vote again.


    Sepp Blatter and co are worse than our own SFA and thats saying something!!



    The supposed peoples game has been stolen by the corrupt who pollute the higher echelons and those who enjoy succulent lamb on a world wide stage

  21. Hamiltontim is praying for Oscar on

    !!Bada Bing!!


    14:13 on


    18 March, 2014



    Bit late logging on,spam issues…..:)







    Buy a smaller hoose :-)

  22. Frank Ryan's Whiskey on

    the long wait is over


    12:39 on 18 March, 2014


    “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.”





    I would hazard a guess and say that the guys Ex pat workers building the WC stadia could only dream of being treated the same as those who built the pyramids. Those guys were considered the elite of the Egyptian workforce. Recent archeological discovers show that the pyramid builders were given the best of food and medical provision the state could offer. Unlike the almost ‘serf’ like conditions those poor sods in Qatar have to deal with.

  23. Another very brief return from my self imposed exile – they are getting too frequent!!



    I read the blog every day despite my waining interest in football in general I retain my ‘grá’ for the Celtic Movement and I owe it much for making me in large part what and who I am. So I still read CQN but largely not the comments.



    Paul67 – I think this is your best and most important article ever. It cuts to the heart of why people like me have fallen out of love with the game – corruption, greed and as usual the ordinary man and woman suffers. This is the extreme example, but it is all too real. I would urge any of you with influence in Trade Unions, Charitable groups, large corporations, Councils, political parties, Churches, Mosques, synagogues – wherever, whatever – to have this raised as a concern and ask those organisations to speak out and ask for the issue of workers deaths, mistreatment, poor pay, forced labour etc etc associated with the World Cup in Qatar (and if you dig a little you’ll find Brazil has issues of it’s own too) to be immediately addressed. A simple call for the World Cup to be taken from Qatar, if successful would quite probably leave those same workers abandoned far from home with absolutely no pay, no rights and a Qatari government bent on driving them out of their country post haste, so the issue needs thought through.



    Well done Paul67.



    As an extension to this line of thought, is any one anywhere in football looking at the corruption in governance and thinking ‘we should cut and run – these guys are beyond reform’??

  24. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    Just noticed that one of my Chinese colleagues’ first name is …. Hun Su …….hahahahahahah

  25. 67Heaven ... I am Neil Lennon, supporting WEE OSCAR..!!.. Ibrox belongs to the creditors on

    vmhan – ynwa wee oscar



    14:32 on 18 March, 2014



    Hahahahahahaha……..too nice a person to follow sevco

  26. Vmhan



    I’m probably naive but I’m still surprised at the extent of corruption in the big institutions which impact on our lives – the EU, the Met, the Banks, the City, the LIBOR and almost all sport.



    But what is even more surprising is that now we all accept blatant dishonesty, greed and Grand Banking Theft as part of the penalty we pay for being alive. The criminals are laughing at us.

  27. Frank Ryan's Whiskey on



    14:24 on


    18 March, 2014



    I agree 100%, corruption and greed is driving many ‘fans’ away from the beautiful game.


    From small members of Uefa to the top echeolons of FIFA corrouption and greed is endemic.

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