Qatar hits back at Emirati officials attempting to ‘undermine’ World Cup
Qatar’s government has defended its country’s hosting of soccer’s Fifa World Cup in 2022 and hit back at its rivals in the region after several Emirati officials called for a boycott of the tournament.
The government issued the statement in response to comments earlier this week from the Emirati minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Gargash, and Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan, a Dubai security official.
On Sunday, Khalfan took to Twitter to claim that the ongoing political dispute in the Gulf region could end if Qatar gave up its hosting rights.
A fierce political row between Qatar and other Gulf nations has led to various states cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar over alleged support for terrorism in the region, accusations which have been vehemently denied, with Qatar describing the actions as “unjustified" and “based on baseless and unfounded allegations.”
Khalfan then later backtracked on his words, saying that his “personal analysis” had been misunderstood.
Yesterday, Gargash added his criticism and posted on the social media platform that Qatar’s hosting of the event should “include a repudiation of policies supporting extremism and terrorism.”
The Qatari government accused its rivals of “petty jealously” in its statement, saying: “Their weak attempts to tie the hosting of the 2022 World Cup to their illegal blockade show their desperation to justify their inhumane action. There has never been a legitimate reason for the illegal blockade of Qatar, and this is further proof of that.
“This demand is a clear attempt to undermine our independence."
Khalfan and Gargash’s comments came days after a report was released warning of an increasing political risk to Qatar 2022.
Management consultancy company Cornerstone Company, who’s Ghanem Nuseibeh has been outspoken in his support for Qatar’s rivals in the region, claims in the report that “tournament insiders” and “regional experts” have told the company that is “far from certain” whether Doha, the Gulf state’s capital and home to four of the tournament’s eight venues, will “actually host” the event.
Qatar 2022’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy quickly dismissed the report and said there is “absolutely no risk to the future of the first World Cup in the Middle East.”