Migrant workers paid to act as fans at sporting events in Qatar

Thursday December 18th, 2014

Migrant workers received money to pretend to be fans at a recent volleyball event in Qatar, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The workers, who work for the transportation company owned by the state, among other jobs, reportedly said that they attended the event for the cash -- not because they wanted to watch volleyball.

The apparent lack of enthusiasm for the sports comes after a Qatari bid presenter for the 2019 track and field championships said last month that "Qatar has a true passion for sports. Everything in our country revolves around sport."

• WAHL: As concerns continue to build, will a Qatar World Cup really happen?

Fans are also paid -- at varying prices -- to attend other sporting events, including soccer matches, according to the report.

At the volleyball, some for-hire spectators were offered less than others. Security guards and office boys from Kenya said a promise of 20 riyals (£3.50) each drew 40 people on to their bus. A Nigerian said he, too, was getting just 20.

Numerous workers said they regularly make up numbers at sports events. Qatar league football games pay 20 or 25 riyals, they said. A Kenyan said he made 50 riyals at handball.

Qatar is set to host the World Cup in 2022.

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