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Qatar hits back: “It’s the right place to host 2022 World Cup”

Sep 13, 2013, 7:50 AM EDT

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani and his wife Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser al-Misnad hold a copy of the World Cup trophy after the awarding of the 2022 World Cup. The event marked the first time a World Cup finals was awarded to a nation in the Middle East - the second time the event will take place in the Asian confederation (Japan-South Korea 2002). Reuters

After months of disdain and criticism towards the 2022 World Cup being hosted by Qatar, the tiny Middle Eastern nation has finally lashed out at all of the negativity.

Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Organizing Committee, has refuted claims from FIFA President Sepp Blatter and many other high ranking soccer officials across the globe that having the World Cup in Qatar will be a “mistake.”

Al-Thawadi also said there was “no reason” why Qatar should not hold the games as originally planned, despite all the concerns over the searing summer temperatures and many other issues.

“We’ve worked very, very hard to ensure we’re within the rules of the bidding, within the rules of the hosting agreement,” al-Thawadi said. “At the same time we’re delivering on all the promises that we’ve made. We’re working very hard to deliver it. The commitment is there.”

(MORE: ‘Mistake:’ Sepp Blatter confesses Qatar 2022 error)

And with the event set to be the first-ever World Cup held in the Middle Eastern region, the Qatar 2022 official believes their area of the world is long overdue to host a huge sporting event.

“[Qatar] is the right place, the Middle East is the right place,” al-Thawadi said. “We are representing the Middle East, it is a Middle Eastern World Cup, so it is the right place. The Middle East deserves to host a major tournament.”

When the tiny Arab nation was awarded the tournament back in 2010, many questioned the move by FIFA to allow a country with a population of just 1.9 million and encompassing a meager 4,467.6 square miles to welcome the worlds soccer fans.

(MORE: Mounting pressure vs. Qatar 2022 World Cup, as England heads nations asking for switch)

And in recent months the tournament has come under intense scrutiny as Blatter and FIFA directors are pushing for the competition to be switched to the summer months due to the 120 degree plus heat in the Qatari summer. On top of all that the tragic death of Ecuadorian striker Christian “Chucho” Benitez whilst playing for his new Qatari club El Jaish, raised more question marks about the safety of players in the extreme heat.

And now almost every governing body in world soccer wants the 2022 tournament to switch from a summer to winter World Cup, despite all the upheaval it will cause with their domestic leagues.

Blatter was recently filmed saying that Qatar shouldn’t have been awarded the tournament but then retracted his statement. Regardless, there is serious doubt from the entire soccer community as to whether Qatar has the capability of hosting the 2022 World Cup.

No matter what the host nation says, those doubts won’t evaporate anytime soon.

  1. achap39 - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:53 AM

    It’s the perfect place to hold a World Cup…if you want to watch players literally MELT ON THE PITCH from the heat.

  2. futbol247365 - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Only way this works from a soccer standpoint is if all the stadiums are domes like Arizona where they have a natural grass field that is on a motorized track so it can go outside to get sun and water. Or possibly retractable roofs, either way it has to be domed. From a cultural stand point… Don’t even know where to start there.

  3. litepad - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Why not play at night then? …. Night time in Qatar = evening in Europe = morning in USA. So what is the problem?

    Also is this the first time countries in the middle east host soccer matches? If the Arabs can play soccer in their countries, why can’t the Europeans do it then?…. As usual, the western press is being utterly ridiculous!

    • ikenelson - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      The Middle Eastern leagues don’t play in June and July. Because it’s TOO HOT!

    • braxtonrob - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      @litepad, Where … exactly … do you think Qatar is? (wow)

    • joeyt360 - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      The average low temperature in Doha in the summer is still around 85 with high humidity. . . and that low won’t get hit until about 4 or 5 AM. You’d be better off playing the games at about that time. . . except that’s the middle of the night in Europe, and pretty late even in the Americas. The only people who’d like it are in Japan and Hawaii.

  4. some1kj - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    It is not about domed, air conditioned stadiums. It is the average climate on the street. A few years ago I traveled to Saudi Arabia & Kuwait on business, never forgot the feeling I experienced when the aircraft door opened and stepped out into 113 deg heat, it was like someone opened an oven door in your face. It was not even in June/July time frame. The heat just sapped the energy right out of your body. FIFA were just too stupid to have considered awarding the World Cup to a country in that region. It is plain stupid politics at play.

    • lostintransocean - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Not that you need energy to do anything because you would need a permit to enjoy yourself because Qatar is a dry country.

    • ikenelson - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      I lived in the Abu Dhabi for two years. Yes, going outside in the day is like having an oven door opened in your face. At night, instead of an oven it’s like a dishwasher. The Humidity coming off of the Gult is extreme, because the Persian Gulf doesn’t cool down at all until winter. During the day the humidity gets burned out of the air by the sun. But once the sun goes down, you almost choke on the water vapor that is in the air.

  5. futbolhistorian - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Blatter was taped saying those things. Film is what they did in the 60’s.

    • midtec2005 - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      If you’re going to be that big of an ass, you should at least realize no “tape” was involved in the digital audio recording…

    • lostintransocean - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      Film is a chemical element.
      Tape is a magnetic element.
      How do you describe the digital process?

      • ikenelson - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:41 PM

        recorded

  6. lostintransocean - Sep 13, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    This is all backwards.

    “Blatter and FIFA directors are pushing for the competition to be switched to the summer months due to the 120 degree plus heat in the Qatari summer.”

    Should read: “Blatter and FIFA directors are pushing for the competition to be switched to the winter months due to the 120 degree plus heat in the Qatari summer.”

    And

    “And now almost every governing body in world soccer wants the 2022 tournament to switch from a summer to winter World Cup, despite all the upheaval it will cause with their domestic leagues.”

    Should be: “And now almost every governing body in world soccer wants the 2022 tournament to switch from a winter to summer World Cup, because all the upheaval it will cause to their domestic leagues.”

  7. lostintransocean - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    The heat isn’t a huge issue for me. Maybe it’s because I live in a desert myself, but I also know Phoenix has summer games in MLB. The stadiums can be cool enough.

    Of course the environmental impact of cooling off so many large spaces won’t make this a very “green” tournament.

    My biggest concern is the infrastructure. Qatar is approximately the size of New Jersey. The number of visitors to the tournament is almost 1/3 of the Qatari population. Qatar will need to hire 30,000 law enforcement officers, on top of concessions, vendors, stewards, traffic wardens, etc. Qatar doesn’t have the population to fill these jobs, and these aren’t permanent positions.

    What a Qatari World Cup means is a migrant worker World Cup.

    • ikenelson - Sep 13, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      They are already a migrant worker nation. They bring people out of the poorest countries of Asia like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. The workers do everything for them and exist in a state of virtual slavery. They are not free to leave, and they get paid dirt-low wages. They also bring westerners to do all the technical work for them. Qatar and the UAE are mostly foreign workers. Only about 15 percent of those countries are actually citizens. But even if they import lots of people, they won’t be able to do it. They’ll have to involve the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and maybe Saudi Arabia. Qatar won’t be able to host the huge numbers that will want to come.

  8. joeyt360 - Sep 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    We’ve heard all about the heat, the alcohol regulations and other laws a lot of tourists won’t like. But the one other factor almost nobody mentions is that Qatar is a glorified city-state, and it’s not even that big a city. Imagine hosting an entire World Cup, with 8-10 venues and 2 million tourists, all in metropolitan Columbus (the population of metro Columbus is actually greater than Qatar). It’d be a logistical nightmare.

    There ought to be a ‘constitutional’ minimum population for any host of the World Cup in the modern era. If it had been the entire Gulf Cooperation Council (pop. 42 million) hosting, it’d grumble about all the issues people have talked about, but I’d at least understand how it could possibly be done.

  9. talgrath - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Technically, the Qatari delegation is right, there is no good reason why FIFA should change their mind. At the same time, there was no reason why FIFA should have held the cup there, aside from bribery.

  10. some1kj - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    In other words, having read all these comments, it is a major screw up, and the wise thing to do for FIFA, as well as admitting it is a MISTAKE, is to move the games out of the Middle East.

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