Qatar emir slams ‘unprecedented’ campaign against World Cup hosts

Qatar has been hit by an “unprecedented campaign” of criticism over preparations for the football World Cup, its ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said yesterday, calling the attacks “defamation”.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced,” the emir said in a speech.

FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 and it has since spent tens of billions of dollars on preparations.

But the energy-rich Gulf state has faced constant scrutiny over its treatment of foreign workers as well as LGBTQ and women’s rights.

“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects that need to be developed,” the emir told Qatar’s legislative council.

“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes defamation and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many wonder, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” he said.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said the Qatar World Cup, the first in an Arab nation, will be the “best ever.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta said the number of games being crammed into the schedule ahead of the World Cup next month is “crazy” and that player welfare is being jeopardised.

Chelsea have three league fixtures, two Champions League games and a League Cup tie before the World Cup in Qatar begins on November 20.

“It’s difficult and it’s sad because as players you want to go to the World Cup, but we have this schedule where we have to play for our club and do our best,” Azpilicueta told reporters on Monday. – AFP

Show More
Back to top button