The illusion of legacy and reforms

Three teenagers worked as security guards on World Cup venues throughout the tournament. But were never paid by their employer, Stark Security Services, a company owned by persons with close ties to the ruling family and who stand accused of funding Al Qaeda terrorists.

By Sam Kunti

“We are grateful to our employees for performing these outstanding services on our behalf,” wrote Estithmar Holding in a Facebook post on 15 December 2022, three days prior to the World Cup final between France and Argentina.

Estithmar Holding is the owner of Stark Security Services which provided security services at Al Bayt Stadium, Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Education City Stadium, Al Thumama Stadium and Al Janoub Stadium at the World Cup Fifa president Gianni Infantino hailed as the “best ever”. Estithmar Holding had a hugely successful 2022, with 4,2 billion Qatari riyals (1,07 billion euro)  in revenue, a growth of 32 percent. Net profit was 325 million riyals (83,2 million euro).

Only a week after they thanked “our employees” for “outstanding services”, Stark Security terminated their contracts. Hundreds of migrant workers were employed by Stark during the World Cup. Three of them, Saikou (16), Ebrima (18) and Jatta (19) from The Gambia are still in Qatar – unpaid and trapped. They signed a six-month contract with Stark prior to the World Cup. On Christmas Eve the company stopped providing food to their security workers, many of whom had yet to receive pay for their ...

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