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.”

Get yours here:

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  1. fritzsong



    14:34 on 18 March, 2014




    Yes indeed and the corruption within football needs addressed, those controlling the game are choking the life out of it.



    Offski for a cup o Rosie lea ☕️

  2. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    All the cheating that we witness with our own eyes which goes unpunished ie Newcos equaliser at Ibrokes against Albion Rovers.That is why I dont think there semi final against Dundee Utd will be easy for Utd there are many in our cheating wee country who want to see newco lift the Scottish cup.H.H.

  3. I suspect United will simply not be allowed to win. We could see a repeat of the game when Levein went berserk.



    Suspect ref will be a Mr Craig Thompson who will see the Huns home and hosed.

  4. Joe Filippis Haircut


    I can’t see it happenning



    United will be too strong for the local wee team to deal with, even if the 12th man is deployed.



    Jackie knows what’s at stake for his new charges, and will have them fired up.



    As for the locals, they should be applauded for getting so far in such a short time in senior football. :-)

  5. Reply from Harper McLeod to Aulheid (of TSFM and CQN fame)


    Followed by my initial thoughts on how this could be responded to.


    All other (hopefully positive) thoughts and ideas are welcome.





    Dear Sir,


    I confirm receipt of your undated letter, addressed to me and copied to Mr Doncaster which I have discussed with my client. I do not know your name or address or the position which you have with the TSFM and am unable to address you as other than ‘Sir’.



    The SPL Commission Decision of 28 February 2013 (“the Decision”) deals, amongst other matters, with the failure by “Oldco” (as defined in the Decision) to provide relevant information at Issue 4 on page 33 of the Decision. Whilst I was only able to secure and provide to the Commission copies of a number of the ‘side letters’ the list of those players who had received such letters was in the public domain and for the purposes of the ‘Issues’ before the Commission it was not suggested by Oldco or Newco that the fundamentals of the side letters were significantly different over the 10 years or so that Oldco had given such letters to each of the individual players involved.



    The Commission was provided with evidence regarding the existence of both the Murray Group Management Remuneration Trust and the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust. This is referred to at paragraph 35 of the Decision. The Commission chose in its Decision to group these together as “MGMRT”. Both are referred to in the published accounts of Oldco and copies of those accounts were provided to the Commission.



    I refer you to the Annex to the Decision which includes six lists of Specified Players, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A and 3B. The numbering relates to 3 periods during which different regulatory regimes applied. The A reference is to players for whom we had a copy “side letter” and the B reference is to players for whom we did not have a copy of a side letter but in respect of whom there was other evidence that a side letter had been issued by Oldco. The Commission proceeded on the basis that with respect to the Issues the position of all of the Specified Players was the same except where specifically identified in the documents and other evidence.



    The Commission was provided with copies of “side letters” relating to the players whose names appears in the A lists of Specified Players and whilst the Commission and I did not have copies of the side letters for those players whose names appear on the B lists, the evidence of side letters having been issued by Oldco to each of the players listed in the three groups of B Specified Players was also disclosed to the Commission.



    At paragraph 36 of the Decision the Commission held that the same general arrangements applied in respect of all of the Specified Players whilst the details and precise form of the individual side letters varied over the years.



    Since the involvement of Specified Players in EBT Payments and Arrangements with Oldco and the existence of side letters given to each of them was known to the Commission and included in the Decision it is not readily apparent what substantive new allegations with respect to the actions of Oldco in relation to EBT Payments and Arrangements under the earlier Rangers Employee Benefit Trust so far as relates to the Issues are now being made. Your letter does not suggest that the scheme of the EBT Payments and Arrangements was different as between the first and second trusts and associated sub-trusts so far as concerns the player registration matters with which Issues 1, 2 & 3 were concerned. The Commission does not suggest in the Decision that it determined the Issues before it on the basis that any of the Specified Players had not been part of EBT Payments and Arrangements during the period of their employment by Oldco and/or that one or more of them had not received a side letter from Oldco.



    Accordingly, I am not clear in what respects it is being suggested that the Commission was “misled” as regards any of the Specified Players in particular and/or in relation to the participation of Specified Players in EBT Payments and Arrangements in connection with the Rangers Employee Benefit Trust. For the Commission to have been misled it would be necessary for it to have been induced into a false belief by the actions or inactions of a party and/or third party and for it to have relied on that false belief in coming to its various decisions.



    You will note that the Commission determined at paragraph [111] (1) that there had been breaches by Oldco with respect to all of Issues 1, 2 and 4 and in respect of most of 3. The excerpted parts of 3 are stated in the paragraph. The finding of breach extends to the Registrations with the SPL, as it then was, of all of the Specified Players; i.e. all of those for whom we had copy side letters and for those for whom we did not but in relation to whom it was known that side letters had been given by Oldco and that whether in respect of the first and/or second trusts.




    Medtim thoughts.


    Any response should focus on the Discount Option Scheme given the following :-








    2.This was based,as I understand it,on the notion that the EBT schemes may have been immoral but were not ILLEGAL.



    3.As a consequence of 2 (above),EBT type schemes were open for all clubs to employ/exploit.Rangers just happened to be the one to do so.Other clubs could,quite legally,have also done so.



    4.The purpose of the schemes were,as conceded by Thornhill QC,to help rangers attract players they could not otherwise have attracted.All well and good,IF IT WAS LEGAL



    5.The DOS scheme has been found and accepted as not to have been in compliance with tax regulations.(whether it is considered illegal,unlawful or a breach of regulations is a moot/legal debate).



    6.Whatever way you cook it,as a result of 5 (above)OTHER CLUBS COULD NOT,LEGALLY USE A DOS TYPE SCHEME.



    7.As a consequence of this,rangers clearly DID gain an unfair sporting advantage.



    8.At present,this unfair advantage has only been proven to extend to


    a) the participants in the DOS scheme and


    b) the 5 others referred to by Bryce Curdy on TSFM



    9.Depending on Lord Doherty’s decision,this unfair advantage could extend to a much wider audience and timeframe.

  6. Geordie Munro on

    Jimmci and Joe,



    I hear what you are saying but the referees haven’t help them the last twice they have met in the cup.

  7. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    The thing that got me about the selection of Qatar was that the evaluation guys had all gone to bidding countries to check out their stadia and infrastructure. Those countries (including England) took time to show luminaries round Wembley, Old Trafford etc. believing that this would get them plus marks in the final judgement. When the evaluation committee went to Qatar and they were shown an expanse of desert rather than a football stadium what leap of ingenuity made them score the desert higher than the stadium?



    Was the evaluation criteria and scoring ever published?

  8. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    glasgowdave.I hope you are correct but I dont underrate there capacity to cheat. H.H.

  9. Geordie Munro on

    Glasgow dave






    I know they have a bigger footballing budget than every single team in Scotland bar celtic, but to get to a national semi final in only your second season is not to be sniffed at ;)

  10. Paul67 et al



    Timely article Paul. We know now, as if we did not before, how and why Quatar was awarded the World Cup Finals. We know more about the costs of said Cup in terms of blood money, Nepalese, Indian and I am sure others. That we could trust FIFA to intervene, and they have made some minimal efforts, is negated by the corruption FIFA oversaw in the awarding process. That football is awash with both money and debt has made this ongoing corruption pretty much inevitable, and like Formula 1, acceptable in London courts. We see it in Scotland, at UEFA and FIFA, at Bayern and Barca, everywhere we look. And Brazil too. Much as I think Brazil deserved the opportunity to host the World Cup I hope that it is the Brazilian football supporter that stands up to FIFA and its’ corrupt minions. What was it Pele said about about football all those years ago. Not so pretty these days now is it?

  11. Geordie Munro on




    Nah. Not for me.



    If we were lucky enough to reach the final I wouldn’t want it changed from CP.

  12. e=mc2 skiving at work on



    13:24 on


    18 March, 2014





    A good, if still a wee bit painful, articleAfter all this time, it still seems incredible that the UK (not just Scotland) fell for Ally’s hyper nonsense.






    I know it appears mental now, but with the squad we had (Liverpool and AC Milan’s frontline, European Cup winners littered through team), and the results in the year or two previous to it, not to mention being unbeaten in the 1974 world cup, we were justifiably one of the favourites for it. Unfortunately we had a lunatic as manager. But I still love him.


    And we all sang super ally and it ended in tears.



    Ooooops,déjà vu moment.

  14. glendalystonsils on







    Petition signed.


    The unfair advantage to Sevco is bad enough but even worse is the indifference of the MSM.


    Can you imagine the outcry if it was us?

  15. !!Bada Bing!! on

    Question to Ally MacLeod- “what are you going to do after the ’74 World Cup?”……..” defend it”

  16. !!Bada Bing!! on

    As Vhmam posted earlier,sponsors or partners as they are now known have always been complicit in FIFA corruption……allegedly…

  17. Margaret McGill on

    Don’t want to toot my own horn here paul67 blood on the pitch revelations extraordinaire. However,I believe I mentioned it first here on our CQN hallowed ground about FIFA sponsored World Cup murderers on a scale only dreamed of by lesser football association parasites


    Hell Hell

  18. Phyllis Dietrichson on

    Blood Upon the Grass was a Scottish folk tune in the late 1970s, composed after the SFA had arranged a friendly match against Chile, and played in the same stadium where Pinochet had rounded up and killed supporters of Salvador Allende, the democratically elected President.

  19. Think it will be a wee bit more difficult for United than should be.Along with Elbows and the wee bookies plaything Moshni seems to have been given free licence to kick or is that hoof anything.

  20. TD67


    I sent that petition ( or one very similar) to my Dundee Utd supporting mates. To a man, they wanted to play at Ibrox as beating them there would be even more satisfying.



  21. Geordie Munro on

    Right you lot, stop signing the petition.



    Some of the huns worst games and results have been at ibrox.



    Also where are they gonna play it? Celtic park!!!??? No on ma watch!!!

  22. PD



    Your reference to Pinochet reminds me that frequently I meet a younger man at Celtic Park who was imprisoned in that Stadium.

  23. Whilst on the matter. William Hill has Utd at 2/1 to lift the Trophy and Sevco at 100/30


    ( Aberdeen are 7/4). Thats suggests that they see Utd as strong favourites at the neutral Ibrox.




  24. A first class piece, Paul. We all know that FIFA is corrupt from head to toe, well in the head anyway. It is now time to speak up. I have already sent an email. It is no wonder clubs and countries can do as they please when the highest authority in the world shuts its eyes to them.



    Your article reminds me of these lines from the Peter, Paul and Mary song,


    “And how many deaths does it take till he knows, that too many people have died?”



    Here is to justice and humanity before any sporting achievement.



    And may all the dead rest in peace.



    H H

  25. Argentina 78 came as a major shock to the 9 year old jamesgang.



    Kenny Dalglish was the best player in the world. We had just beaten England and stolen their ground. And we had a magic 45rpm that magically and accurately predicted the outcome of major footballing events – and which sounded like Pinky & Perky when played at 78.



    What on earth could go wrong? The more so as we were against countries that didn’t really play proper football…… and holland who were admittedly almost as good as us.



    An early and painful lesson in life being a Scot.






    HH jamesgang

  26. Margaret McGill on

    Scotland World Cup 1978 was another Hun pension plan gone awry. Do you think any of the SFA Huns gave a rats arse what happened to Ally Mcleod dodo destined for Somerset Park tactical nous and Willie Johnston urine samples ? Not a jot. They hadn’t even heard of Cubillas.

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