The ruler of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has spoken out against the “unprecedented campaign” of criticism of his country ahead of the World Cup.
“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,” the Emir said in a speech.
“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours 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 fabrication and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” he said.
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Human Rights Violations and Reforms
FIFA granted Qatar the World Cup in 2010, and since then, it has spent tens of billions of dollars getting ready for the occassion. The oil-rich Gulf state has been under constant scrutiny for how it treats foreign employees as well as LGBTQ and women’s rights throughout.
Human rights organisations have written extensively in recent years on the mistreatment migrant labourers have experienced while constructing World Cup stadiums. In a letter to Infantino addressed in May, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and eight other organisations demanded that FIFA and Qatar pay the relatives of workers who lost their lives while preparing for the World Cup.
The first World Cup to be held in an Arab country, in Qatar, will be the “best ever,” according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
The head of Qatar’s World Cup organising committee, Hassan al-Thawadi, claimed earlier this year that the country’s labour reforms were “historical” and that the World Cup will leave “really transformational social, human, economic, and environmental legacies.”