Qatar has emptied apartment blocks housing thousands of foreign workers in the same areas in the center of the capital Doha where visiting soccer fans will stay during the World Cup, workers who were evicted from their homes told Reuters.
They said more than a dozen buildings had been evacuated and shut down by authorities, forcing the mainly Asian and African workers to seek what shelter they could – including bedding down on the pavement outside one of their former homes.
The move comes less than four weeks before the Nov. 20 start of the global soccer tournament which has drawn intense international scrutiny of Qatar’s treatment of foreign workers and its restrictive social laws.
At one building which residents said housed 1,200 people in Doha’s Al Mansoura district, authorities told people at about 8 pm on Wednesday they had just two hours to leave.
Municipal officials returned around 10.30 pm, forced everyone out and locked the doors to the building, they said. Some men had not been able to return in time to collect their belongings.
“We don’t have anywhere to go,” one man told Reuters the next day as he prepared to sleep out for a second night with around 10 other men.
He, and most other workers who spoke to Reuters, declined to give their names or personal details for fear of reprisals from the authorities or employers.
Nearby, five men were loading a mattress and a small fridge into the back of a pickup truck. They said they had found a room in Sumaysimah, about 40 km north of Doha.
A Qatari government official said the evictions are unrelated to the World Cup and were designed “in line with ongoing comprehensive and long-term plans to re-organise areas of Doha.”
“All have since been rehoused in safe and appropriate accommodation,” the official said, adding that requests to vacate “would have been conducted with proper notice.”
World soccer’s governing body FIFA did not respond to a request for comment and Qatar’s World Cup organizers directed inquiries to the government.
Around 85% of Qatar’s three million population are foreign workers. Many of those evicted work as drivers, day laborers or have contracts with companies but are responsible for their own accommodation – unlike those working for major construction firms who live in camps housing tens of thousands of people.
One worker said the evictions targeted single men, while foreign workers with families were unaffected.
A Reuters reporter saw more than a dozen buildings where residents said people had been evicted. Some buildings had their electricity switched off.
Most were in neighborhoods where the government has rented buildings for World Cup fan accommodation. The organizers’’ website lists buildings in Al Mansoura and other districts where flats are advertised for between $240 and $426 per night, Reuters reported.
The Qatari official said municipal authorities have been enforcing a 2010 Qatari law which prohibits “workers’ camps within family residential areas” – a designation encompassing most of central Doha – and gives them the power to move people out.
Some of the evicted workers said they hoped to find places to live amid purpose-built workers’ accommodation in and around the industrial zone on Doha’s southwestern outskirts or in outlying cities, a long commute from their jobs.
The evictions “keep Qatar’s glitzy and wealthy facade in place without publicly acknowledging the cheap labor that makes it possible,” said Vani Saraswathi, Director of Projects at Migrant-Rights.org, which campaigns for foreign workers in the Middle East.
“This is deliberate ghetto-isation at the best of times. But evictions with barely any notice are inhumane beyond comprehension.”
Some workers said they had experienced serial evictions.
One said he was forced to change buildings in Al Mansoura at the end of September, only to be moved on 11 days later with no prior notice, along with some 400 others. “In one minute, we had to move,” he said.
Mohammed, a driver from Bangladesh, said he had lived in the same neighborhood for 14 years until Wednesday, when the municipality told him he had 48 hours to leave the villa he shared with 38 other people.
He said laborers who built up the infrastructure for Qatar to host the World Cup were being pushed aside as the tournament approaches.
“Who made the stadiums? Who made the roads? Who made everything? Bengalis, Pakistanis. People like us. Now they are making us all go outside.”
Pakistan to play three T20Is against Afghanistan in Sharjah next month
Pakistan will play a three-match T20 series against Afghanistan next month in a bid to compensate Afghanistan for the losses caused by the withdrawal of Cricket Australia from the ODI series against the side, the Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Management Committee Najam Sethi said on Sunday.
“Pleased to announce PCB will play 3xT20s against Afghanistan in Sharjah end March to compensate Afghanistan following Australia’s pullout from bi lateral series against it,” he said on Twitter.
PCB head added that he also supported the Asian Cricket Council’s decision to grant Afghanistan an equal share of ACC revenues like the other top four member boards.
“I also supported ACC decision to grant Afghanistan equal share of ACC revenues like BCCI, PCB, SLC & BCB.” he remarked.
Last month Cricket Australia announced its decision to pull out of the scheduled three-match ODI series in March in response to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s restrictions on women.
ILT20 announces prize money pool for inaugural edition
The DP World International League T20 on Sunday announced a prize money pool of $1.3 million (USD), where the winning team will receive $700,000 and the runner-up team will receive $300,000 at the end of the final.
The first season of the DP World ILT20 is currently being held across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Speaking about the prize money, Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary, Emirates Cricket Board said: “The league is incredibly pleased to announce the prize money for the winning and runner-up teams of the DP World ILT20.
“We want the franchises and the players to compete intensely in winning these awards. The Season 1 of the DP World ILT20 will conclude on 12th February where the two finalist teams will contest to lift the Trophy and take the winner’s prize money. May the best team win.”
The ILT20 has witnessed several magnificent performances over the past three weeks and the competition is all set for its knockout stage.
The Desert Vipers, Gulf Giants and MI Emirates have booked their spots in the playoffs, while the Sharjah Warriors and Dubai Capitals are fighting for the final playoffs spot.
Desert Vipers have won seven matches from ten games; Gulf Giants and MI Emirates have won six and five games respectively in nine matches. The Vipers and Giants, who are in the top two spots on the points table, have confirmed a top-two finish in the league stage.
Desert Vipers’ Alex Hales has been the leading run scorer in the tournament so far with 465 runs and is the current Green Belt holder. Meanwhile, Gulf Giants’ Chris Jordan is the current White Belt holder with 14 wickets in the competition so far.
Alex Hales is leading the race to the Red Belt as he is currently the Most Valuable Player in the ILT20 with 184 points. MI Emirates’ Muhammad Waseem is in the driver’s seat for the Blue Belt (Most Valuable UAE Player) with 146.5 points in the competition so far.
Each of the Belt winners will receive $15,000 as prize money at the end of the season.
The Most Valuable Players are decided based on a unique point scoring system devised by the DP World ILT20. The players are given a certain number of points for their performance with bat, ball and on the field in every match.
The DP World ILT20 has been presenting five match awards namely; player of the match, DP World smart delivery of the day, Fairplay News biggest hit of the match, Skyexch.Net Super 4s of the match and Sportsbuzz 11 Buzzmaker of the match with every award winner receiving $1,500.
The tournament will also present season awards for DP World Smart Bowler, Fairplay News biggest hit, Skyexch.Net Super 4s and Sportsbuzz 11 Buzzmaker. Each of the award winners are set to receive $15,000 as cash prize following the final.
The Qualifier 1, Eliminator and Qualifier 2 will be played from 8 February 2023 to 10 February 2023, with the Final to be held at the Dubai International Stadium on 12 February 2023.
Gulf Giants defeat Desert Vipers, confirm a top-two finish
Gulf Giants beat Desert Vipers by 25 runs and secured a top-two finish through Shimron Hetmyer’s hard-hitting half-century in the 27th match of the DP World ILT20 at the Dubai International Stadium on Saturday.
Hetmyer, who was Gulf Giants’ hero in their previous match against MI Emirates through his last ball six, scored a stroke-filled 54 off 35 balls with four sixes and two boundaries.
He was backed by skipper James Vince’s 39 runs to help Gulf Giants post 180 for 6 in 20 overs.
Desert Vipers could muster only 155 for 6 against the tight Gulf Giants attack. Tom Curran tried hard to take his team to target through an unbeaten 42 off 33 balls with five boundaries and a six, but his efforts were not successful.
Desert Vipers won the toss and elected to bowl.
Speaking about their victory, Gulf Giants’ David Wiese said: “This was a big game for us as we wanted to confirm our place in the top two. Every single bowler has stood up when they have needed to in the tournament. Aayan Afzal Khan bowled beautifully today. The bowlers have been supporting each other nicely and everyone’s been doing the job.”
Also speaking after the match, Desert Vipers’ Tom Curran said: “Losing wickets in a cluster didn’t help us. I thought we could get to the target at one point in the game. It would have been a different story if I was batting with a recognised batter. I also thought that they got too many runs. It wasn’t a straightforward wicket. We probably got it a bit wrong with the ball and that can happen.”
Meanwhile, playoffs begin on 8 February at the Dubai International Stadium.
Cricket fans across Afghanistan can catch the LIVE telecast of this exciting cricket league on Ariana Television.
For the full broadcast schedule CLICK HERE
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