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Apr, 19, 2011

Swiss film crew arrested filming in Qatar

FIFA faces fresh dissent over its choice of Qatar as host of the 2022 World Cup finals after a Swiss film crew was interned for filming a report on the Gulf state's staging of the showpiece.

Two journalists, Radio Televison Suisse (RTS) reporter Christophe Cerf and cameraman Yvan Thorimbert were stopped on April 1, handcuffed and interrogated at two police stations and detained for 13 days before the pair were fined by a judge in Doha.

Their camera was also confiscated and the two were only able to return home after Switzerland's Ambassador in Kuwait was forced to step in. RTS says that the crew had been told that they could film "freely" while on location, only for police to descend on their set and carry out arrests.

"The arbitrary conduct of the Qatari police constitutes a serious violation of press liberty," said Massimo Lorenzi, head of sports at RTS.

FIFA's already besmirched reputation has taken a serious hit since the announcement of Qatar's success in winning the bidding process. There has been much discussion about having to change the footballing calendar to stage a winter World Cup, so that players can escape the steepling temperatures that summer tournament would bring.

Recent reports have centred around the Qataris trying to change climate conditions by the use of artificial clouds, a suggestion roundly mocked in a Westerm media to which the country's government have proved rather sensitive. The example of the Swiss journalists may prove to be a further example of that but there has been no official comment from the Qatari goverment on the alleged arrest.

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