Category Archives: Sports

FIFA World Cup 2022 could be taken away from Qatar

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter asked for findings as to how the tournament was awarded

I was surprised when Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup in 2022 3 years ago even though I was sure they had the necessary means to organize a great tournament. However, there’s more to it than just money.

In fact, the decision taken three years ago is being reconsidered as FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter said and I quote : ‘There was definitely direct political influence. European leaders recommended to voting members to opt for Qatar, because of major economic interests in the country.’

Of course it’s normal for politicians to lobby in favor of a country, but the the Qatari state influence in the 2022 process was ‘unprecedented’ according to the same report, and holding the World Cup in Qatar might disrupt leagues worldwide as it needs to be held in winter to avoid temperatures of up to 50ºC (Air Conditioned stadiums, if feasible, did not convince FIFA’s chief medical officer). The high temperatures are as bad for the players as they are for the fans who would want to go out and not just hang out at malls and in the hotel.

Opponents of the move, including the Premier League, have argued that it will cause untold disruption not only to the 2021/22 campaign but to a season either side. To comply with Fifa rules, the football season will have to be suspended for up to eight weeks in either January and February or November and December of that year.

They argue there will be huge disruption to broadcasting partners, players’ contracts, sponsors and other sports that will be hard to resolve. Losing bidders for the 2022 tournament, including the US and Australia, are also unhappy at the prospect of the goalposts being moved.

Fox, which paid $1bn for the rights to show the World Cup in the US, is understood to be concerned about any possible clash with the NFL season while Frank Lowy, who led the Australia bid, has already called for compensation if the tournament is moved.

But Fifa, which is likely to ratify the decision to move to the winter in principle at a meeting of its executive committee on 3-4 October in Zurich, has insisted that the wording of its bidding documents gave it the right to shift the tournament and has insisted no compensation will be paid.

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There’s also another issue which is related to the abuse of migrant workers in Qatar. In fact, it is reported that there will be at least one death per day till all the stadiums, hotels and road are built for the 2022 World Cup.

Personally speaking, the South Africa and Korea World Cups were major disappointments and I would rather have European countries host the World Cup, but I am curious and excited to see how Qatar will be able to pull out a World Cup, of course as long as they do so without causing the death of half a million workers. It’s an immense challenge and a first for Arab countries so let’s make the best out of it.

All being well, the 2022 tournament will be held in the winter. Just one niggling question remains: how many lives will be lost so that the Fifa World Cup™ can live up to its boast that it is the most successful festival of sport on the planet. “More workers will die building World Cup infrastructure than players will take to the field,” predicts Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. Even if the teams in Qatar use all their substitutes, she is likely to be right.

Qatar’s absolute monarchy, run by the fabulously rich and extraordinarily secretive Al Thani clan, no more keeps health and safety statistics than it allows free elections. The Trade Union Confederation has had to count the corpses the hard way. It found that 83 Indians have died so far this year. The Gulf statelet was also the graveyard for 119 Nepalese construction workers. With 202 migrants from other countries dying over the same nine months, Ms Burrow is able to say with confidence there is at least one death for every day of the year. The body count can only rise now that Qatar has announced that it will take on 500,000 more migrants, mainly from the Indian subcontinent, to build the stadiums, hotels and roads for 2022.

Not all the fatalities are on construction sites. The combination of back-breaking work, nonexistent legal protections, intense heat and labour camps without air conditioning allows death to come in many guises. To give you a taste of its variety, the friends of Chirari Mahato went online to describe how he would work from 6am to 7pm. He would return to a hot, unventilated room he shared with 12 others. Because he died in his sleep, rather than on site, his employers would not accept that they had worked him to death.

Lebanese Fencing Team wins 1 Gold, 2 Bronze Medals at the West Asian Fencing Championship

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Rita Abou Jaoude won a Gold Medal for Lebanon – [Source]

The Lebanese Fencing team won one Gold and two Bronze medals at the the West Asian Fencing Championship which were held in Amman. Rita Abou Jaoude won two medals and the Lebanese team (Antoine Choueiri, Rami Baydoun, Rami Gharra, Arz Zahreddine) won a bronze. [Source]

You can follow news of the Lebanese Fencing team on their Facebook page [Here].

Lebanon Water Festival

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This year marks the second edition of the Lebanon Water Festival. The festival is open to the public and includes activities such as underwater Photography, Sailing, Water Skiing, Find Swimming, Jet Ski, Wind surfing and Apnoea diving at 120 meters depth.

If you are interested in any of these activities, check out [LebanonWaterFestival], pick one and register for it. The activities are not for free but at a reasonable price.

Lebanon Water Festival is an exceptional opportunity for Lebanon to portray the richness of our country, our coastal line and people, bringing unity among or own regions. Lebanon Water Festival is an annual event that will spread from north to south, glorifying the treasures of each region.

This year already we will unveil to the World, the underwater beauties of Tyr, one of the only underwater Phoenician city!

Dubai & Beirut pedal in tribute to Lebanese Cyclist Roy Nasr

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A day after the unfortunate accident that claimed the life of Triathlon Champion Roy Nasr near Safa Park, the cycling community in Dubai gathered at the Qudra cycling track at 5.30am to pay tribute to Roy. They all cycled wearing a black badge.

Similarly the Lebanese Cycling Community is organizing an open bicycle ride from Marina Dbayeh to Raouche on Thursday in tribute to Roy. The meeting point is in the middle of Marina Dbayyeh at 6pm and cyclists will throw flowers in the sea at the finish point in Raouche. You can check out more details [Here].

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To be honest, and I am almost ashamed to say that, but I haven’t heard of Roy until his tragic death and I was saddened by it, but what saddened me even more and upset me was a comment by Stephy, one of Roy’s relatives:

Roy is my uncle.. I’m glad one Lebanese said something about it… It’s funny how it is first page everywhere in Dubai and hardly mentioned around here, instead of being proud abt all his achievements as Lebanese, who, btw, always has competed and won raising Lebanon’s flag.
I’d also like to point out how we tried, many times, to include his news in the Lebanese media with no success… It was a big deal whenever he won anything in the UAE.. Also the UAE asked him many time to compete as an emiratee and he’ll be fully sponsored, but he never accepted.. Such a disappointing country, shame…
Roy is a legend, not only in sports but also in his work and career and an amazing person (quoted by so many)..
Thank you for posting this brief…

It’s a disgrace that a great athlete like Roy didn’t get noticed by the Lebanese media and never got the support of his native country. Roy’s funeral will take place in Lebanon Dubai on Tuesday at 2pm at St Francis of Assisi Church in Jebel Ali.

My sincere condolences to his family and friends once again.

Lebanese Triathlon Champion Roy Nasr Dies In Dubai Accident

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Roy Nasr was a former Arab Triathlon champion and finished an impressive third at the 2011 World Triathlon Championships in Beijing. He also co-founded Tri Dubai and was training for Ironman South Africa in April 2014.

What an unfortunate loss. May he rest in peace and sincere condolences to his family.

Former Arab triathlon champion Roy Nasr was killed while another was injured when a drunk driver hit them as they were cycling early on Friday morning near Safa Park interchange, Gulf News has learnt.

Nasr, 49, and a cycling friend whose name was not immediately available, were hit from behind by a car when the drunk driver swerved past the cyclists’ escort vehicle as they pedalled towards Meydan, said a senior police official.

Major General Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Chief of Dubai Police Traffic Department, said the driver, who was under the influence of alcohol, rammed into the hapless victims. “A cyclist was killed after he was hit by a car on the Safa Park bridge early morning and another cyclist was also injured in the accident and was rushed to hospital,” said Maj Gen Al Zafein.

Police arrested the driver and a case will be transferred to Traffic Public Prosecution. According to initial reports, the accident occurred around 5:30am near Safa Park while the cyclists were crossing over to Shaikh Zayed Road. [Link]

How Lebanese Hind Hobeika Created The Google Glass Of Swim Goggles

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Hind is an AUB graduate and the inventor of Instabeat®, a revolutionary swimming device that can seamlessly and instantaneously track an athlete’s workout. Instabeat was named one of the 17 Most Intriguing Gadgets and is due to launch in the fall.

What she’s achieved so far is quite amazing and we can only wish her the best of luck for the launch and after it!

Little surprise that her target goal of raising $35,000 was more than twice surpassed in the first days of her campaign. Contributors came from the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

What might be surprising is where she is from. Silicon Valley? San Diego? New York? How about Beirut, Lebanon.

In the midst of the political instability we most often see in the headlines, Hobeika is leading one of tens of thousands of new, tech-centric startups from across the Middle East. The daughter of academics, herself an engineering grad from the American University of Beirut, she once presumed she would become an executive in a larger global company in the region like Procter & Gamble. But she was also a fiercely and passionately competitive swimmer in college, and she saw a market for an unmet need. [Full Article]

Lebanon Overall Winner at Pan-Homenetmen Games

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Mabrouk to the Lebanese Armenian team!

The 9th Pan-Homenetmen games, which had brought together 650 athletes from 17 countries, concluded yesterday, Aug. 3, with the Homenetmen of Lebanon winning the overall title.

Homenetmen Lebanon secured the overall title by winning the chess, ping-pong, and track and field competitions; securing second place in the girls’ basketball tournament; and winning third place in soccer, boys’ basketball, and women’s basketball. [Armenian Weekly]