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Qatari leader slams unprecedented criticism since World Cup bid

Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made his accusations in a televised political speech

Qatar faced a “unprecedented campaign” criticism since winning the bid to host the FIFA World Cup next month, according to the country’s leader, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

He made the claims in a televised political speech, admitting that some of the early criticism Qatar received was actually constructive.

“We initially handled the case in good faith, and even considered some reviews to be positive and helpful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed,” he told the Qatar Legislative Council.

“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes manufacturing and double standards, until it reaches a degree of ferocity that unfortunately raises many questions about the real reasons and motivations for this campaign.

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He said that since his victory “The honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host nation has ever faced.”

Qatar won its bid to host in 2010 and has come under intense international scrutiny for its alleged treatment of migrant workers building the tournament stadium, as well as its restrictive local laws on issues such as homosexuality.

On Monday, a report by Human Rights Watch alleged that members of Qatar’s LGBTQ+ community had been detained and physically assaulted by security services last month, in what the country’s government called a “categorically and unequivocally false.”

Reports claimed that Qatar would relax some of its laws for the competition, which is expected to receive around 1.2 million visitors, and Sheikh Tamim said hosting the FIFA showpiece was “a big test for a country the size of Qatar.”

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“We accepted this challenge out of faith in our potential, we Qataris, to tackle the mission and make it a success,” he explained. “It’s a championship for everyone, and its success is a success for everyone.”

The Qatar 2022 World Cup will start on November 20 and continue until the final on December 18.

Russia 2018 World Cup champions France will be looking to successfully defend the crown for the first time in their history, while other favorites to lift the trophy include Brazil, who won the tournament a record five occasions.


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