Former Qatar 2022 bid worker Phaedra Almajid fears for her safety after FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert breached her right to witness confidentiality by publishing information that she says makes her easily identifiable as a whistleblower in the case into alleged corruption surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. Almajid, who lives in Washington, D.C. and worked in the Qatar bid team's media department, is also angry that Eckert discredits her and Australian whistleblower Bonita Mersiades in his report.
According to the AP, Almajid alleged in 2011 that three FIFA executive committee members were paid $1.5 million each to vote for Qatar. She later retracted her claims under pressure from Qatari officials, she says, before the FBI visited her house. “The FBI wanted me to get in contact with the Qataris so that they could admit the fact there was a deal between me and them,” Almajid says in an interview. “They recorded me speaking to a senior official from Qatar. The senior official admitted there was a deal for (retracting) the affidavit and they would provide a letter saying they wouldn't sue me.”
Eckert, who assessed the evidence collected by FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia for the case, concluded in his 42-page report that the whistleblower “altered evidence” to support the allegations and had not “relied on any information or material.”
In response, Almajid tells the AP: “[Eckert] discredited me and breached the confidentiality agreement we had. This has cost me dearly. I am ready to keep fighting for the truth to be known and for what happened to me not to happen to anyone else.”