Qatar 2022 at­tacks ‘ma­li­cious’: Or­gan­iser

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Qatar’s much-crit­i­cised 2022 World Cup has been the vic­tim of “ma­li­cious and un­war­ranted at­tacks”, a se­nior tour­na­ment of­fi­cial in the Gulf said yes­ter­day.

Nasser Al-Khater, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Supreme Com­mit­tee for De­liv­ery and Le­gacy, the body over­see­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion of the tour­na­ment in Qatar, also claimed that many of the coun­try’s crit­ics had not “set foot in the coun­try”.

“We’ve re­sponded to our crit­ics for a very long time to the detri­ment of the lo­cal peo­ple and lo­cal me­dia,” he told a Soc­cerex Asia fo­rum meet­ing in Doha.

“We were un­der a lot of crit­i­cism we were un­der, I would say, ma­li­cious and un­war­ranted at­tacks.”

Since be­ing con­tro­ver­sially cho­sen to host foot­ball’s big­gest event al­most ex­actly six years ago, Qatar has re­ceived a bar­rage of in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism.

These have mostly fo­cused on cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions to se­cure the tour­na­ment in the first place and its poor hu­man rights record, in re­la­tion to the al­most two mil­lion mi­grant work­ers in the Gulf state.

Qatar is the sub­ject of an on­go­ing Swiss At­tor­ney Gen­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tion into cor­rup­tion claims over the bid­ding process for the 2022 tour­na­ment, al­le­ga­tions al­ways de­nied in Doha.

It was also ac­cused ear­lier this year by Amnesty In­ter­na­tional of us­ing “forced labour” at one World Cup site.

Qatar has tried to counter such claims by say­ing it is in the process of bring­ing in sig­nif­i­cant labour re­forms.

Later this month, the gas-rich state is ex­pected to an­nounce the end of its con­tro­ver­sial “kafala” laws, which place re­stric­tions on work­ers’ abil­ity to change jobs and travel.

In ad­di­tion, last month the Supreme Com­mit­tee an­nounced that it would al­low in­ter­na­tional trade union inspections of tour­na­ment sta­dium sites from next year.

Khater added that he thought crit­ics were be­ing si­lenced. “I think it’s time crit­ics started to lis­ten to us. I think they are com­ing round to the fact that Qatar is not a bad idea,” he said. — AFP

MANCH­ESTER: Manch­ester City’s Brazil­ian mid­fielder Fer­nand­inho (L) and Manch­ester City’s French defender Bacary Sagna at­tend a train­ing ses­sion at the City Foot­ball Academy in Manch­ester, north­ern Eng­land, yes­ter­day. Manch­ester City are due to play Cetlic in UEFA Cham­pi­ons League Group C foot­ball match to­day. — AFP

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