Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, stated on Tuesday that his country has received unprecedented criticism since winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The leader of the Middle Eastern nation stated that some of the criticism constituted libel.
Sheikh Tamim stated in a televised policy speech, stated that the nation first approached the subject in good faith, adding that some of the early criticism was constructive.
However, he stated that a campaign against Qatar evolved to include such fierce fabrications and double standards that they have unhappily caused many people to question the campaign’s true objectives and motivations.
Qatar, the first country in the Middle East to host the World Cup, drew harsh worldwide condemnation for its treatment of foreign workers and draconian social policies.
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The emir was speaking at a session of the Gulf Arab state’s advisory Shura Council as Doha prepares to host the world’s premier football tournament, which begins on November 20.
Qatar, a tiny Gulf Arab state with a population of roughly three million, anticipates 1.2 million visitors during the tournament, posing an unparalleled logistical and security burden for the country.
Sheikh Tamim stated that hosting the World Cup was “a tremendous test for a country of Qatar’s size.”
“We accepted this challenge out of our faith in our potential, we the Qataris, to tackle the mission and make it a success,” he said.
“It is a championship for all, and its success is success for all.”
Doha has implemented reforms, such as measures to protect workers from heat and a monthly minimum salary of 1,000 riyals (about $275), and has stated that it will continue to improve its labor system.
Qatar, one of the world’s leading natural gas producers and one of the wealthiest countries per capita, is 85 percent comprised of foreign labor.
Sheikh Tamim stated that rising energy prices assisted Qatar in achieving a government budget surplus of 47.3 billion riyals (12.8 billion USD) during the first six months of 2022.
This is in contrast to the predicted deficit and gross domestic product growth of 4.3%, according to preliminary projections.
“The budget surplus will be directed to reducing the level of public debt and increasing the state’s financial reserves,” he said.
The World Cup would allow Qatar to exhibit its economic and institutional prowess as well as its cultural character, he stated.
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