World Cup Doha - where is Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah?
UPDATE 25 NOVEMBER 2022
Although he has made no public appearances or statements since the end of his appellate forgery trial in Geneva that ended on Monday 21 November 2022, we understand Ahmed Al-Sabah - he barely deserves the honorific 'Sheikb' - remains in Switzerland, tightly holes up. He is afraid of international travel, lest it lead to his arrest.
He had been living in Qatar but the Qataris do not want him amidst all the controversies involved in the Qatari World Cup 2022 (see below) that even the Qatari Royal Family now say they are regretting hosting.
So Ahmed Al-Sabah is stuck.
UPDATE 22 NOVEMBER 2022
Judgment has been reserved by the Geneva appellate court on forgery charges against Ahmed (of which he had already been convicted by a lower Geneva court and sentenced to 2.5 years' imprisonment) to a future date.
We imagine the current situation to be that the Swiss want to get rid of him, but he will not go; he is staying in Switzerland because if he returns to Kuwait he will be arrested by his political opponent Sheikh Nasser; and he is unwelcome in Qatar because he was responsible for the massive foul-up that is the 2022 Qatari World Cup.
In any event we cannot be certain where Ahmed Al-Sabah is right now. He has disappeared like a puff of smoke. We invite anyone who knows or has evidence about his whereabouts to contact us.
UPDATE 21 NObEMBER 2022
There have been no confirmed sightings of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah in Doha over the weekend, whether at a World Cup event or elsewhere. There is no evidence he has left Geneva where he currently on bail pending an appellate trial in Geneva on fraud charges, for forging videos of his cousin and political opponent in Kuwait City, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah. There have been no sightings of him outside his five star hotel in central Geneva, a gilded cage that has trapped the sly fox whose time would surely be up sooner or later after decades of corrupt activities fixing international sports events..
Sheikh Nasser Mohammed Al-Sabah, Sheikh Ahmed's ardh-rival.
Hence we assume he intends to arrive at the Geneva court at 09:00 today Monday 21 November 2022, for the final day of the trial which might lead to his incarcerwtion on the spot if the first-instsnce decision sentencing him to 2.5 yewrs' imprisonment is upheld by the appeal court.
Watch this space.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2022
The World Cup principal financing agent, the renegade member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family in perpetual dispute with his cousin Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Sabah, will not be in Doha, Qatar for the opening ceremony on 19 November 2022 of the 2022 FIFA soccer World Cup that he so carefully engineered to bring the World Cup to so anomalous environment. That is because he is currently on bail in a Geneva luxury hotel in the centre of a criminal lawsuit in which he is the principal defendant; and he cannot travel anywhere. That is because if the hearing goes against him, then he will likely be ordered to start his prison time immediately. The next court hearing he must attend is on Monday 21 November 2022.
Let us remind the reader of some background facts.
Doha is an outrageously dumb place to hold a soccer World Cup. The current temperature there is 32 degrees centigrade. The large number of football fans descending upon Doha for the event are having to walk around central Doha in the sweltering heat, so strong it gives them sunburn and heat exhaustion, because there are far too few taxis and insufficient public transport in Doha to accommodate the hundreds of thousands soccer fans descending upon the city.
The fans' facilities in the city are primitive concrete carbuncles in the heat.
Moreover the Qatari government has just declared, at the Eleventh Hour, that alcoholic drinks cannot be sold in public places, contrary to prior commitments made to FIFA. Even before this volte-face, only weak beer (what Americans call 'ale' - 3.5pc or less) would be made available and at the exorbitant price of USD14 per plastic cup. The only company allowed to sell beer was to be Anheuser-Busch (American Budweiser beer). Now even that has gone. So this World Cup is dry.
Qatar outlaws homosexuality and related acts can be punished with the death penalty. A Qatari World Cup official described homosexuality as 'a disease in the mind'.
Reports have emerged of persons from Asia working on construction and in services for as little as 41 US cents (i.e. USD00.41) per hour. So the Doha World Cup is being run by use of slave labour - and in the country in the world (Qatar) that has the very highest GDP per capita. Qatar is the richest country in the world (based on its gas fields) and it is using slaves.
Qatar is a dictatorship run by a single family and it has a long tradition of egregious human rights abuses, including mistreatment of detained persons, unfair trials,absence of democratic institutions, torture, affording women inferior social status and legal protections, amongst many others. It is a deplorable country to have anything to do with in a good will field such as international sports.
Qatar had offered to subsidize some less well ofd fans' travel to the World Cup but that funding was cut at the Eleventh Hour.
Visiting fan numbers are much lower than prior World Cup tournaments so the Qatari government has taken to hiring Indian subcontinent expatriate workers wearing football shirts to fill the seats.
There is a colossal shortage of accommodation for fans. What are essentially areas of tarmac with portacabins have still not been completed on the eve of the World Cup opening.
Visiting fans have been warned that male and female football fans should not hold hands in Qatar, presumably on pain of Police intervention or criminal penalty.
With hotel rooms in Doha charging over USS500 per night, Qatar's intention appears to be that this is a World Cup for the super rich only.
Doha is notoriously boring. There is nothing for fans to do in between the matches for which they have tickets; and it is too hot even comfortably to go for a walk. The city also has inadequate public transport (to be fair, as do most Gulf cities because it is simply too hot to go outside and use them - hence everyone drives). What will all the fans do with their spare time? There are no day trips; outside Doha Qatar is mostly gas fields. Nor can one cross to Saudi Arabia without a visa which it is hard to obtain in practice.
32 degrees centigrade is far too hot for professional footballers to play 90-minute matches. They will surely collapse of heat exhaustion. It cannot be excluded that players and their staff simply go on strike and refuse to play in such conditions.
Iranian fans have extraordinarily been deriding their own team and supporting England, Iran's arch-enemy. (England won by a remarkable 6-2.) Now Iran's team is being threatened by their home government if they are not more patriotic. (Presumably a number of them will refuse to return to Iran, claiming asylum.) A famous Iranian footballer has been arrested for activities against the state.
At least one participating country's fans decided en masse to boycott Qatar and collectively travel to Spain to watch the football in more pleasing circumstances.
This is set to be the worst World Cup ever. Nevertheless perhaps we ca. Use this to reform radically the world of infernation sport so that such a monstrosity never happens again.
Nevertheless the President of FIFA engaged in a preposterous media rant purporting to defend the indefensible, on Saturday 19 November 2022, the day before the World Cup opening ceremony. This would appear to indicate that he is in the Qataris' pockets, presumably because he was privy to and potentially even a beneficiary of the comprehensive regime of corruption managed by Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah that we describe below. He may of course fear for his own liberty. As President of FIFA, he can hardly escape culpability for the deep-set corruption in the organisation at whose helm he sits.
The Qatari World Cup is a Potemkin village waiting to collapse. What happens when -
Footballers start fainting on pitch?
Spectators start fainting in the stands?
Doha's few bars serving alcohol (in five star hotels) become so overloaded with football fans that they become fire hazards, scrums or otherwise unsafe?
The Qatari police arrest foreigners for violating cultural norms such as kissing in public, being drunk in public or dressing indecently?
Homosexual men are arrested for kissing or for other overt displays of affection?
International journalists get arrested and deported for providing critical commentary on the way the World Cup is being run?
Fans start reporting horror stories of the disgraceful uncompleted portacabin arrangements for their accommodation?
Skirmishes between frustrated and drunk football fans start in those five star hotel bars?
Fans start trying en masse to fly home early because Qatar is such an inhospitable environment?
A drunk fan makes sexual advances towards a Qatari or other Gulf Arab woman in one of those bars, or ends up in a dispute with a local person while drunk who calls the Police (that will inevitably side with the Qatari irrespective of the merits)?
A fan smuggles drugs in (e.g. soft drugs such as marijuana, legal in many jurisdictions)
In the first day of the Qatari World Cup, riot police were deployed against fans including families.
The Qataris, subject to relentless criticism and unable to fill the stadiums, are now saying that it wasn't worth the money and hewvy criticism to take the World Cup. We have sympathy for them; Qataris are gentle, wealthy people who do not want all this negative international attention.
The Qatari Police have banned fans from singing (it seems England fans are the first to be singled out for this form of persecution).
The Qatari Police have banned fans wearing traditional local dress from entering the (only) bars in Five Star hotels, because they consider that it represents an insult to Islam.
Two western European football teams, England and Denmark, are now threatening to quit FIFA over Qatar's prohibition of homosexual symbols (such as rainbow armbands). The German team participated in a collective rebuke of FIFA for banning them from expressing support for homosexual rights.
Hence we are now looking at the possible dismantling of FIFA as an impossible den of structural corruption, all due to the fine work of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Sabah. What a disgrace: both to the international community, and to the Kuwaiti Royal Family that have ruled Kuwait in relative peace and harmony since 1752.
The list of calamities arising out of the Qatari World Cup is extensive.
Hiow did so farcical an arrangement come to be? The answer is a sophisticated and breathtakingly corrupt deal brokered by Sheikh Ahmed, who must surely be one of the most crooked men in sport. We will explain how it worked.
Qatar paid money to the Olympic Council of Asia, a corrupt organisation owned by Sheikh Ahmed, for him to use as facilitation payments to various corrupt officials in the poorer FIFA member states.
The typical course for these corrupt payments was the granting of sports scholarships to young persons in these poorer FIFA member states who are connected with government officials. The typical scholarship grant would be between USD125,000 and USD250,000, typically for study abroad for a period but the size of the grant far exceeded the actual costs of studying abroad (if the period of study actually occurred and all the money was not simply pocketed).
In exchange, these FIFA member states would vote for Ahmed's preferred city location for the 2022 World Cup, namely Doha, Qatar.
FIFA operates by a system of one member one vote.
The reason Doha got it was because they were prepared to pay more into this obtuse and corrupt financing system than other countries.
Sheikh Ahmed also has close political connections with members of the Qatari Royal Family.
Hence the decision upon which city would host the 2022 FIFA World Cup was made on the basis of nepotism and corrupt facilitation pagments, not on the basis of merit. That is how we got into the mess we are in today.
Sheikh Ahmed has a long history of corrupting the votes in international sporting bodies in this way. He does the same with the International Olympic Committee, upon which he has sat, quite extraordinarily, since 1992 (thirty years). This in itself demonstrates just how ingrained his own brand of corruption is in the Olympics (and in international sports more generally)..
Now we come to Sheikh Ahmed's legal problems in Geneva.
In September 2021 Sheikh Ahmed was sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment by a Geneva court for forgery. What he had done was to have forged some videos of his Kuwaiti rival Sheikh Nasser planning a coup d'etat against the sitting Emir in Kuwait and various other things (such as trading with Iran), by splicing fake voiceovers and subtitles over pinhole video camera
Ahmes was eventually forced to apologise to the Emir on Kuwaiti national television in April 2015, and the Geneva court case wound itself very slowly until his conviction in September 2021.
He was not required to serve his sentence immediately; instead he was granted bail pending an appeal hearing that began in Geneva on16 November 2022. He was obliged to attend the hearing, pressing for it to be over by Friday 18 November 2022 so he could fly to Doha for the opening ceremonies of the World Cup.
Unfortunately despite sitting colossal hours (typically 10 hours a day), the Geneva appeal court had not finished by 7pm on Friday 18 November 2022 and is due to resume on Monday 21 November 2022 for further legal arguments. Ahmed is not allowed to leave Switzerland while the procedure continues. That is because if his conviction is upheld then he will likely be ordered to start his custodial sentence immediately. Secondary appeals, to Switzerland's Federal Tribunal (the country's court of last resort), do not suspend the execution of a sentence, as a rule, unless and until the Federal Tribunal rules in the appellant's favour (which may take months).
Hence Ahmed is effectively a detainee in a luxury Geneva hotel over the weekend, unable to travel to Doha because he may be condemned to prison and incarcerated on Monday 21 November 2022.
We understand the flight manifests and private jet flight plans for all aeroplanes heading from Switzerland to the Gulf yesterday evening and Sheikh Ahmed was not on any of them. Hence he is stuck in Geneva awaiting his judicial fate.
This is an ignominious but perhaps fitting end to the career of possibly the most corrupt man in international sports, who has done so much himself to bring international sportinf organisations info disrepute.
It is an open secret that the FBI and US Department of Justice are investigating him with a view to India fmenf for breach of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,because a number of the 'sports scholarships' he 'investes in' involved places at US universities.
How the mighty have fallen. And we say that this is the best thing that could happen in the world of international sports, in order to clean it up.
Watch this space.