FIFA World Cup host Qatar hits back at German criticism

The crescendo of excitement over the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East is being intermittently pierced by noises of international politics amid a pushback by Qatar, which on Friday summoned Germany’s ambassador to Doha to protest remarks made by the German interior minister on human rights and sustainability.

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned German Ambassador Dr Claudius Fischbach and handed him an objection memo, expressing the country’s disappointment and complete rejection and condemnation of remarks made by Germany’s Federal Minister of Interior Nancy Faeser on Qatar hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022. The ministry also demanded a clarification of the remarks.

In a riposte to the German politician’s remarks, the Gulf state on Saturday came out with statements by politicians, writers and media professionals that showed their support for Qatar’s rights record and its commendable efforts to host the World Cup.

Politicians, writers and media professionals in international media have denounced the slander, lies and distortion campaigns that Qatar has been subjected to since winning the organisation of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the latest of which was the provocative and irresponsible statements of the German Interior Minister against Qatar hosting the tournament, on allegations of non-compliance with sustainability standards and human rights, state news agency QNA said.

Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani recently denounced what he called the unprecedented campaign that Qatar has been subjected to since winning the bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced. We initially dealt with the matter in good faith and even considered some of the criticism as positive and useful in helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed. But it soon became clear to us that the campaign tends to continue and expand to include fabrications and double standards that were so ferocious that it has unfortunately prompted many people to question the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” the Amir said.

QNA on Saturday quoted former German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s tweet: “The United Nations and the International Labour Organisation praise every day the reforms by Qatar, and only Germans criticise them every day. It is German arrogance towards Qatar.”

Doha has pumped in billions of dollars into infrastructure projects and eight advanced stadiums to get the country ready for the tournament which will be held for the first time in winter.

The World Cup kicks off on November 20 with a match between Qatar and Ecuador. It ends on Qatar’s National Day — December 18. More than a million visitors are expected to arrive in the country of about three million people.

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