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15 Nov 2022

Qatar 2022: Family of ex-World Cup organiser whistleblower say Abdullah Ibhais is "silenced" & in solitary confinement ahead of tournament kickoff

In 2019, Abdullah Ibhais was media and communications director for the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organisation partnering with FIFA and responsible for delivering the 2022 World Cup. Abdullah Ibhais is facing a prison sentence of five years, accused of misuse of money and accepting a bribe for awarding a contract, allegations that Ibhais maintains are retaliation for his criticism of the organisation's handling of a large strike in August 2019. For more context see coverage of Abdullah's case from 2021 onwards.

On November 14th, Abdullah's family released a statement in which they describe a "surprise hearing" for Abdullah without notice and held in the absence of Abdullah or his lawyer. Abdullah's wife is reportedly banned from visiting him. On November 30, Abdullah's family released another statement on the proceedings of the hearing, saying the court has ruled against him. The family's statements can be read in full below.

FIFA previously responded to the case in 2021; their response can be read here.

“Abdullah Ibhais did the world a huge service by exposing the lies and deceit on which this World Cup was built. He and his family have paid a terrible price for that, and this final appeal decision confirms the politicised nature of his case. FIFA should demand his immediate release.“
Nick McGeehan, FairSquare