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Posted On: 14 February 2019 02:52 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:20 pm

Top lobbying firm offered to pressure FIFA to have Qatar's 2022 World Cup cancelled -- GCC Crisis Updates Week 89

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Here’s what’s happened since last week’s updates: Qatar Asian Cup victory to 'deepen' Gulf tensions, say analysts.

Political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby was offered to work on a campaign to cancel the 2022 Qatar World Cup in return for £5.5 million, according to leaked documents. His company, CTF Partners, approached a London-based self-styled Qatari ‘opposition leader’ Khalid Al-Halil, who is said to be aligned with Qatar’s regional opponents Saudi Arabia and the UAE, reported the Guardian.

The pitch document was seen by the Guardian and the campaign group Spinwatch as part of an investigation into how the UK has become a major centre for global lobbying campaigns as part of the proxy war in the Middle East.

£5.5m offered to undermine 2022 Qatar World Cup

The detailed pitch document – “a proposal for a campaign to expose the truth of the Qatar regime and bring about the termination of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar” – was written in April 2018 and personally signed by Crosby.

In the pitch document, which the Guardian claims it has read, Crosby promised to carry out work that would undermine the credibility of Qatar’s government for £300,000 a month, as well as conduct research linking Doha with terrorism for an additional fee. Crosby also said that if engaged, his lobbying firm, CTF Partners, would require £300,000 a month for 18 months to focus on efforts to delegitimise the Qatari government and put pressure on FiFA to “restart the bidding process” and award the World Cup to another country.

Allies with the media, politicians, businessmen to influence negative perceptions about Qatar

World Cup T-shirts for sale in the Souq Waqif in Qatar
(World Cup T-shirts for sale in the Souq Waqif in Qatar. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian)

The proposed campaign for canceling the 2022 Qatar World Cup, named "Project Ball" includes several strategies to spread negative stories about Qatar and its suitability to host FIFA’s flagship event. The strategies include identifying and lobbying potentially friendly politicians, businessmen, journalists and academia. It also said they could run fake campaigns on social media to put pressure on Qatar and mobilise global support against the country.

Lynton Crosby—the master of the dark political arts!

Lynton Crosby
(Lynton Crosby)

Sir Lynton Keith Crosby is an Australian political strategist who has overseen election campaigns for right-of-centre parties in several countries.

Crosby has been described as a "master of the dark political arts" because of his powerful and influential actions over political issues.

Crosby first ventured into overseas politics at the 2005 United Kingdom general election, where he managed the Conservative Party's unsuccessful campaign. He also run Conservative campaigns for the 2008 and 2012 London mayoral elections, as well as the 2015 general election, all of which resulted in victories for the party.

His most notable success campaign was the unexpected majority won by David Cameron in the 2015 election, after which he was given a knighthood by the ex-prime minister.

Outside of Australia and the UK, Crosby has also served as an advisor for parties in Canada, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.

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(Cover Image: Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters)