Sunday, August 05, 2018
The lid is off the well-planned black operations' by Qatar to sabotage the rival bids from the US and Australia for the FIFA 2022 World Cup which Doha was awarded during the FIFA Executive Committee meeting in Zürich on December 2, 2010. The Sunday Times report compiled through leaked emails given to the newspaper by a whistleblower reveals that the sabotage operation was carried out by the New York-based PR firm Brown Lloyd James, now known as BLJ Worldwide. The modus operandi was by using middlemen to approach journalists, academics, bloggers and others to create negative reports on the bids by rival countries. These "middlemen acting for Qatar pretended to represent concerned taxpayers" and they approached two influential professors - one in US and the other in Australia - and offered them payment to write damaging reports against the rival bidders.
The emails name the following people who played a role in the Qatari plot or just were approached to take part in it:
Ali al-Thawadi, a top Qatari official: The plan to hoodwink Congress was a highly sensitive project that required direct engagement with the top team. One email is addressed directly to Ali al-Thawadi, the deputy chief executive of the Qatar bid. While Ali kept in the shadows, the whistleblower claims the official oversaw the black operations' campaign.
Michael Holtzman, BLJ Worldwide's president: He was the apparent coordinator of the plot, giving the feedback to the Qatar bid in his "strategy" email in May 2010 and listing all the details about the dirty work. For example, he said: "We have recruited the head of the Federation [sic] of Sports Economists to write a major study on how the US World Cup lost money, and how the 2018-2022 proposal would also lose money."
Professor Dennis Coates: The professor, an economist from Maryland University, admitted last week he received $9,000 for the 23-page report that he wrote detailing the negative impact of the bid by Qatar's chief rival US.Coates's report received extensive media coverage, as he was the president of the Association of Sports Economists.
Professor Richard Pomfret: In Australia, the Qatari middlemen through the PR firm zeroes in on economist Professor Pomfret at Adelaide University. Like Professor Coates in the US, Professor Pomfret was offered money to write a critique of Australia's bid - Qatar's second main rival. But the Australian academic did not bite the bait and turned down the offer.
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