So far, Qatar has fulfilled its obligation to host the World Cup, which begins on November 20, and this is a source of pride for the government in a country of 2.9 million people, where only one in ten people are Qatari citizens.
Nevertheless, the rich nation that enjoys massive wealth and benefits fueled by Qatar’s shared control of one of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas is hitting back at critics that tried to tarnish its image.
In response to these criticism, Qatar’s Foreign Minister says Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al Thani described negative media coverage of the upcoming tournament as “misinformation”.
His interview with Sky News is the answer to what he says has been a terrible journey leading to the month of November.
In general, he says people “cannot accept a small country from the Middle East” hosting the World Cup and those criticising the tournament are “arrogant”.
Meanwhile, at least 10 European countries have responded to the Fifa President’s letter to members urging the nations participating in the World Cup not to bring politics into the beatiful game.
While the minister did not address the responses from these countries to Fifa, he says, “Preaching from a distance is not a solution.”
“Calling to boycott the World Cup, or those who are not coming to the World Cup, it’s their decision at the end of the day, but why deprive the people and the public from attending and enjoying the World Cup.”
Qatar: critics are unhappy, arrogant nations
The minister also asked whether the countries criticising Qatar do not have problems and why are they not talking of their own problems?
“Honestly, not me or the Qatari people only, but there’s a lot of people from around the world who are just seeing this as a sense of arrogance.
“A sense of people who cannot accept a small country from the Middle East has won the bid to host the World Cup.”
Qatar shares with Iran a large underwater gas field, which is the world’s largest and holds approximately 10% of the world’s known natural gas reserves.
At the onset of the Ukraine war, the Europeans were quick to turn to Qatar to seek gas as a replacement for the lack of options after they imposed a ban on Russian gas.
They did not speak about the problems they see in Qatar now, then. They turn a blind eye when things are not in their favour.
Hence, rich Qatar is not going to become poorer after the World Cup and even if there is a boycott, the competition will go on and the rest of the world will try to enjoy the matches.
And the eventual successful turnout and completion of the 2022 World Cup will not enrich the European nations or the critics who are thumping with mostly paid op-eds and ads in Western papers.
The worst part of their protest is that their supporters will rush to Qatar despite a looming ban on ‘public affections’ between men and women and LGBT members.
More stories related to the FIFA World Cup here.