World Cup whistleblower ‘living in fear’
London,20 Nov(AFP): A whistleblower who gave evidence of corruption against the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid claimed Wednesday she had been offered FBI protection in light of threats made against her and her children.
Phaedra Almajid, who worked for the Qatar 2022 bid team before losing her job in 2010, provided evidence to investigator Michael Garcia’s independent inquiry into corruption allegations surrounding both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
Almajid gave her evidence on condition of anonymity — a condition she believes was flouted deliberately when a summary of Garcia’s report was published by global football governing body FIFA’s ethics committee judge Hans-Joachim Eckert last week.
“Do I regret being the Qatar whistleblower? It has cost me personally, it has cost me emotionally — I know for a fact I will be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life,” Almajid told Sky Sports News on Wednesday.
“It has cost me my credibility and most importantly it has cost me the security of both me and my children. However I did witness something and I believe I did have to say what I had witnessed.”
Almajid added she believed the threats had more to do with Qatar than FIFA.
“I had a lot of cyber attacks, a lot of them were directed to my children. I do believe it was through the Qataris. They knew a lot of information about me that I don’t believe FIFA knew or were interested in. I was a bigger threat to the Qataris than I ever was to FIFA.”
Almajid and fellow whistleblower Bonita Mersiades, who worked for Australia’s unsuccessful 2022 bid, have separately lodged formal complaints against Eckert’s summary.