World Cup Host Qatar Uses ex-CIA officer to Spy on FIFA
Qatar, in its efforts to host next year's World Cup event, hired a former CIA officer who spied on senior football authorities for years.
Qatar has worked with a former CIA officer for years to help spy on soccer officials as part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and hold on to the 2022 World Cup tournament, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
The World Cup is the planet’s most popular sports tournament. It’s also a chance for Qatar to shine on the world stage.
The AP’s investigation found that Qatar secured hosting rights by hiring former CIA officer turned private contractor Kevin Chalker to spy on rival teams and key soccer officials who chose the winner in 2010.
Chalker also worked for Qatar in the years that followed to keep tabs on the country’s critics in the soccer world, the AP found.
The investigation is based on interviews with Chalker’s former associates as well as contracts, invoices, emails, and a review of business documents.
Operatives working for Chalker and Qatar also sought cell phone call logs of at least one top FIFA official ahead of the 2010 vote, a review of the records show.
Chalker also promised he could aid the country to “maintain dominance” over its large population of foreign workers, an internal document from one of Chalker’s companies revealed.
Qatari government officials did not respond to requests for comment. FIFA also declined to comment.
Chalker, who opened an office in Doha and had a Qatari government email account, said in a statement that he and his companies would not “engage in illegal surveillance.”
He refused to take part in an interview or to answer detailed questions about his work for the Qatari government. He also claimed that some of the documents reviewed by the AP were forgeries.