Tory political strategist Sir Lynton Crosby offered to work on a campaign to cancel the 2022 Qatar World Cup in return for £5.5 million, according to leaked documents.
The Australian adviser personally signed a pitch document written last April describing ‘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’.
According to the
Sir Lynton Crosby personally signed a pitch document written last April describing ‘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’
Controversial ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter announcing that Qatar have won the right to host the 2022 World Cup in February 2015
As part of the pitch document, named ‘Project Ball’, Crosby said CTF Partners could set up full-time war rooms around the world to spread negative stories about Qatar in the media.
It also said they could run fake campaigns on social media, and lobby potentially friendly politicians, journalists and academics.
After successfully running election campaigns for the former Australian prime minister John Howard, Crosby helped run the last four Conservative general election campaigns in the UK.
His most notable success was the unexpected majority won by David Cameron in the 2015 election, after which he was given a knighthood by the ex-prime minister.
Crosby, 62, is also close to the foreign former foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who he helped elect as Mayor of London.
Crosby’s potential client for Project Ball was a self-styled Qatari opposition leader based in London named Khalid Al-Hail, who says he fled the Gulf country after being detained and tortured.
CTF Partners confirmed it provided Al-Hail with ‘a minimal amount of media advice’ during July’s state visit to London by the emir of Qatar.
Construction of the 40,000-seater venue in the port of Al-Wakrah is due to be finished in 2019. It will be one the last designs by British architect Dame Zaha, who died suddenly of a heart attack in 2016, aged 65
Crosby’s potential client for Project Ball was a self-styled Qatari opposition leader Khalid Al-Hail (pictured) who says he fled the Gulf country after being detained and tortured
During this visit a PR company that had previously worked with Al-Hail made a farcical attempt to pay hundreds of actors to protest outside Downing Street during the emir’s visit to see Theresa May.
CTF said it had no role in organising the fake protests and ceased all involvement with Al-Hail ‘upon hearing about such matters’.
Crosby’s lawyers said no contract with Al-Hail was ever entered into and none of the work outlined in the proposal was undertaken.
They insisted that the proposed work was ‘hardly controversial’ given widespread criticism of the Qatar World Cup bid and human rights in the Gulf country.
They added: ‘It is legitimate for one party to use the services of people/entities such as our clients to put important information into the public domain in an effective manner.’
The pitch document, seen by the Guardian, lays out a proposal to coalesce global criticism of Qatar into a single narrative and ‘expose and undermine the actions of the current regime’ in Doha, including linking the state’s activities to terrorism in the minds of the public.
It added: ‘We would identify all potential ‘allies’ in the media, politics, industry, academia, and government and reach out to them guiding a deliberate attempt to inform and motivate them about the need to reconsider Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup in 2022.’
Qatar’s World Cup bid has been repeatedly accused of bribing Fifa officials during the selection process and criticised for disregarding the human rights of those building the infrastructure for the tournament.