World Cup Whistleblower Offered FBI Protection

The FBI offered protection to a whistleblower who made corruption allegations against the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid because they believed she was in danger.

Phaedra Al-Majid, a former employee of the Qatar World Cup bid, told Sky News that she was approached at home by FBI agents in September 2011 and told that they believed she was under threat.

“I was at home watching TV, there were three FBI agents on my doorstep.

“They said to me, we are here because you have received threats and we know the security of you and your children is being jeopardised, so we want to see what we can do to help you.”

Ms Al-Majid left the Qatar bid team in early 2010, nine months before they were awarded the 2022 World Cup, after becoming concerned at the conduct of the bid.

She turned whistleblower and provided information to a number of journalists on condition of anonymity.

In the last year she has also provided information to Michael Garcia’s independent inquiry into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

Her evidence was dismissed in a summary of the Garcia report published last week, which she believes effectively identified her and breached her confidentiality.

Speaking on camera for the first time, she said she did not regret speaking out.

“If you are asking me do I regret being the Qatar whistleblower, it has cost me personally, it cost me emotionally.

“I know for a fact I will be looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life. It’s cost me my credibility, it has cost me security for me and both my children.

“However, I did witness something and believe I did have to say what I witnessed.”

In the FIFA report, German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert said Ms Al-Majid had undermined her credibility when, in late 2011, she swore an affidavit withdrawing her allegations.

She said she only did so under pressure from a senior figure from the Qatar bid team who threatened her with a $1m (£640,000) lawsuit.

She also said the FBI had a recording of a conversation in which the Qatari official discussed the deal with her.

“I signed a confidentiality clause with the Qataris worth $1m and there was an injunction against me.

“I was being threatened with a $1m lawsuit that would have destroyed my livelihood and that of my children,” she said.

“I am a single mother with two children, both of them on the spectrum, I had no legal representation. I was scared, I was frightened and I signed the affidavit.”

Ms Al-Majid decided to speak out after her identity was revealed by media in the UK, Germany and Australia following publication of the Eckert summary last week.

While she was not named, she believes Eckert provided enough detail for her to be identified, and in doing so breached the guarantee of confidentiality she agreed to.

She said: “Judge Eckert broke his own word. He said he would protect whistleblowers and he has not.

“He has all the evidence, but he picked and chose what was revealed.”

Mr Eckert has not responded to requests for comment on Ms Al-Majid’s claims.

FIFA said his summary did not reveal any witnesses’ names but anyone with a complaint was free to go to its disciplinary committee.

Qatar officials deny all allegations of corruption.

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