Hours before the start of the much-awaited FIFA World Cup 2022, fresh reports have emerged which are accusing Qatar of match-fixing. It is being claimed that the host country has tried to bribe the Ecuadorian players to underperform and lose the tournament opener to them on November 20. The news reports emerged after Amjad Taha, regional director of the British Middle East Center for Studies and Research, claimed that Qatar paid bribes to the Ecuador players.
As per Taha, 8 players of the opposition team were paid $7.4 Million, which translates to roughly INR 60 Crore, in bribes to lose what will mark the curtain raise to the tournament. In a sensational claim, Taha has also said that Qatar will win the match 1-0 and the goal will be scored in the second half of the match.
"Exclusive: Qatar bribed eight Ecuadorian players $7.4 million to lose the opener (1-0 ⚽️ 2nd half). Five Qatari and #Ecadour insiders confirmed this. We hope it's false. We hope sharing this will affect the outcome. The world should oppose FIFA corruption.
@MailSport #WorldCup2022," he tweeted.
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While the claims have managed to grab some eyeballs, there have been a few who have refuted Taha's claims. Among those who say that Taha is an unreliable source is Marc Owen Jones, who is an Assistant Professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad bin Khalifa University.
"Just a heads up if anyone sees a story about Qatar bribing Ecuador 7.4 million to lose the opening game - it started here from a well-known disinformation account who is somehow also the main source in the story @amjadt25. It's already got thousands of RTs though," he posted on Twitter.
No official confirmation of Taha's claim has been released yet. The Qatar vs Ecuador match is set to kick off at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 20 at 09:30 PM (IST).