Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 4th 2015 Contents A47
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BEIJING---China s former Olympic
champion hurdler Liu Xiang plans to
announce his retirement next week
following years of nagging injuries, a
local newspaper reported yesterday.
The Shanghai native has not com-
peted since withdrawing at the Lon-
don Olympics in 2012 after ruptur-
ing his Achilles tendon. He pulled
out of the 2008 Beijing Games with
a similar injury and years of treat-
ment have apparently failed to fix
The 31-year-old Liu became one of
China s best-known athletes by
winning the 110-metre hurdles title
at the 2004 Athens Olympics in a
then-world record time.
The Shanghai newspaper Xinmin
News said Liu would announce his
retirement on his official microblog
on Tuesday. He would then join for-
mer NBA star Yao Ming and tennis
champion Li Na in the ranks of
world-class Chinese athletes who
have recently retired. (AP)
PARIS---One suggests Sepp Blatter
dropped the ball with Qatar. Another
wants new World Cup rules to safeguard
human rights. The third says Fifa must
investigate labour abuses.
The three candidates campaigning to
dislodge Blatter as Fifa president have
detailed their positions on one of the hot
topics of the 2022 World Cup: The plight
of migrant labourers in host Qatar.
Hundreds of deaths and well-docu-
mented abuses of guest workers in the
rich Gulf nation are priority issues for
human rights campaigners but are barely
figuring in the Fifa election debate.
Blatter voiced his opinions last month
after meeting Qatar s ruling emir, saying
"progress has been made," but more must
be done "to ensure uniformly fair working
conditions for all."
The views of his challengers---Luis Figo,
Michael van Praag, and Prince Ali bin
al-Hussein---have been less clear.
Figo s and Van Praag s published man-
ifestos make no mention of working con-
ditions and rights of labourers on World
Cup stadiums and related infrastructure.
The same goes for the initial nine-page
programme published by Prince Ali, who
said he will be publishing a full manifesto
"in the coming days."
Seven questions about labour rights
in Qatar was sent to each of Blatter s
Via his press team, Prince Ali provided
by far the most exhaustive response, with
detailed point-by-point replies to each
question. He took a swipe at Blatter, who
has "a responsibility to show leadership
on this issue. So far, I believe this lead-
ership has been lacking."
The Fifa vice president also said foot-
ball s governing body should introduce
new safety standards to prevent "tragic
incidents occurring during stadium con-
struction and ensuring labour rights and
fair working conditions." If elected on
May 29, he committed to propose "clear
guidelines that all host nations of Fifa
events must adopt---ensuring the safety
and security of every worker employed
to deliver Fifa s football projects."
"There is evidence that progress is
being made in Qatar with the new laws
that ... are now being implemented," he
said. "The 2022 World Cup should go
ahead in Qatar as planned, and I believe
that the emir of Qatar is committed to
delivering the positive social change and
improvements to conditions for workers
that the international community and
Fifa are demanding."
Van Praag s lengthy response included
a commitment to "follow what happens
in Qatar very closely." An advocate of
expanding the World Cup to 40 teams,
the Dutch association chief suggested
some matches be played outside Qatar
"so the World Cup legacy and the labour
rights situation improves beyond the bor-
der of one nation alone in that region."
Van Praag said World Cup bid regu-
lations should be rewritten to specifically
include a section on human rights. He,
too, said the 2022 tournament should
stay with Qatar.
"Qatar promised to improve and we
want to make sure they do, which includes
giving them all the assistance they
require," he wrote.
He noted Blatter s and Qatar s good
intentions on labour rights, "but I don t
have reliable information yet on the con-
Through his press handler, Figo
responded with 85 words. Football author-
ities must look at labour rights "with the
greatest attention," and "human rights
are not negotiable and should be respected
by every organisation in Qatar," the Por-
tugal great said.
At Human Rights Watch, Gulf
researcher Nicholas McGeehan was
unconvinced about the candidates sin-
"With the apparent exception of Prince
Ali, it seems Blatter and the other chal-
lengers are paying lip service to the issue
out of necessity rather than outlining
clear proposals to show how Fifa intends
to exert its influence and ensure a real
and lasting legacy on this issue," McGee-
han said by e-mail.
With a tiny and very wealthy native
population of its own, Qatar relies on
hundreds of thousands of labourers from
India, Nepal, and elsewhere for the muscle
to build the stadiums, subways and other
infrastructure needed for the first World
Cup in the Middle East.
After rights groups and labour unions
decried working conditions there, Qatar
committed to improvements, and Fifa
started paying an interest. Rights groups
are urging far deeper, swifter change, and
the dismantling of Qatar s controversial
labour system that ties foreign workers
to employers and has left them vulnerable
to exploitation and abuse.
Qatar last May announced plans for a
new law that could eventually end the
so-called "kafala" system but is yet to
follow through. (AP)
Former world champion hurdler Liu Xiang to retire
NEW DELHI---IOC President
Thomas Bach will visit India
this month amid speculation
of a bid for the 2024 Olympics
by New Delhi or the western
city of Ahmedabad.
Indian Olympic Association
president Narayana Ramachan-
dran confirmed Bach was invited
to India, and refrained from talk-
ing about the bid.
Bach was invited by the IOA
and government to visit in the
last week of April, Ramachan-
dran told the Press Trust of
Indian media say Prime Min-
ister Narendra Modi is exploring
the possibility of bidding for the
games, and is keen on Ahmed-
abad, the biggest city in his
home state of Gujarat.
IOA secretary Rajeev Mehta
though said there were no
immediate plans for a bid.
"I have no knowledge of any
proposal to bid for the Olympic
Games," Mehta told The Asso-
ciated Press by telephone.
India has until September 15
to join Boston, Rome and Ham-
burg, Germany, who are the
declared 2024 candidates so far.
India hosted the Asian Games
at New Delhi in 1951 and 1982
with some success, but its
organization of the 2010 Com-
monwealth Games was heavily
criticized at home and abroad
over corruption charges and
delays in construction.
The IOA, which was suspend-
ed for more than one year by
the IOC in 2012 for electing
tainted officials from 2010,
dropped its plan to bid for the
2019 Asian Games despite being
provided a deadline extension
by the Olympic Council of Asia.
India has also had little impact
on the Olympics, winning its
most medals (six) at one edition
at London in 2012. India has one
individual Olympic gold medal,
through shooter Abhinav Bindra
at Beijing in 2008, and eight
gold medals in field hockey, the
last of them in 1980. (AP)
to visit India
Qatar labour rights on
Fifa candidates' agenda
"My one-day career
is over and I have
played my innings.
Now the responsibil-
ity lies with the
youngsters to take
Pakistan cricket for-
Recently retired Pak-
istan ODI captain
Call: 623-8870 (Ext:
2213, 2711, 2212, 2192)
Soca Warriors cap-
JONES scored a
header on debut for
Bournemouth in a 1-1
draw against Ipswich
in the English Cham-
Michael van Praag
Prince Ali bin al-Hussein
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