Qatar 'under malicious attack' over 2022 World Cup

Qatar 'under malicious attack' over 2022 World Cup
An organiser of the Qatar 2022 World Cup has accused critics of the upcoming world tournament of leading a "malicious" attack and invited them to offer "constructive criticism" instead.
3 min read
06 December, 2016
Al-Khater addressed the Soccerex Asian Forum 2016 in Doha [Getty]
The Qatar 2022 World Cup has suffered "malicious and unwarranted" attacks from some camps, a tournament official said on Monday.

According to a press statement on the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy's website, the organisation's assistant secretary-general told the Soccerex Asian Forum 2016 in Doha that many of the critics had not even visited the country.

"Unfortunately, we have been under malicious and unwarranted attack from some sections," said Nasser al-Khater.

"I believe we have always responded to criticism that is constructive."

  More from Qatar
British PM eyes post-Brexit trade deals at Gulf summit
Qatar charities hope to bring 'warm winter' to refugees
Qatar accused of censorship after Doha News website blocked
Gaza 'fertile ground' for Islamic State recruiters: Qatar minister
Qatar will continue 'supporting Syria' regardless of US help

He invited critics to visit and see Qatar for themselves and "then come forward with constructive criticism" instead of "resorting to the easier option of criticising with little or no basis".

Al-Khater also sought to counter accusations that Qatar was building "white elephant" stadiums that would be demolished after the event and provide little long-term economic or social benefits to the country.

"We are not merely building stadiums but scripting well-researched legacy plans into the designs of every single stadium and precinct," he said.

"There have been instances of some World Cup stadiums not having been used following the event. However, Qatar will be different. We have consulted with local communities and have built precincts with amenities such as schools.

"We are also building modular seating in stadiums which can be dismantled after the tournament so that we need not be saddled with white elephants. Some stadiums will be fully dismantled and re-used after the tournament."

Preparations for the Qatar 2022 World Cup have been marred by controversy since the Gulf State won the right to host the tournament, with accusations FIFA officials had been accepted bribes to accept the nomination and reports of appalling labour conditions for migrant workers constructing stadiums in the country prevalent.

But Doha has fought back against allegations of abuse and exploitation, responding with a series of reforms aimed at improving working practices and employee safety.

The decision to hold the tournament in the winter – in order to avoid soaring summer temperatures common in the Gulf – has also caused anger as it is will force domestic leagues in Europe and elsewhere to reschedule their tournaments to avoid timetable clashes.

Another reason for criticism was the issue of alcohol consumption during the tournament.

Qatar recently announced that football fans would not be allowed to buy or consume alcohol in the country’s stadiums and public spaces during the world event.

Public consumption of alcohol is prohibited in Qatar, although alcohol is available in hotels, while expats living in the Gulf are permitted to buy drink after first applying for a license.

FIFA's general secretary Fatma Samoura responded by saying that the football governing body "respects" Qatari culture and the country's latest decision.