Nasser Al Khater, director of the World Cup organization in Qatar, is unhappy about all the outside criticism of the 2022 global football tournament.
In December 2010, it was announced that Qatar was allowed to organize the World Cup in 2022 and that generated a lot of resistance. In the first place, there was criticism of organizing the final tournament in the summer due to the heat. In 2015 it was therefore definitively decided that the World Cup will be completed in the winter.
In addition, studies by Amnesty International and others have shown that human rights are being structurally violated in Qatar, and according to The Guardian , around a hundred workers die each year working on the many new stadiums. Women in Qatar are also seriously disadvantaged, there is hardly any freedom of the press in the country and case law does not follow international standards.
"Whether Qatar has been treated unfairly by the media? I think so," responds Al Khater in conversation with CNN . "Qatar was immediately convicted. It was about the weather, then about corruption, then about the health of the employees. We recognize some of these and want to work on that."
Al Khater therefore does not agree with an Amnesty International study showing that Qatar has done too little to improve the conditions for workers. "It has been researched for many years, but nothing has been found. There is always a bit of news in the media and that is not fair to us."
Nasser Al Khater, the director of the World Cup organization in Qatar. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"Always had to prove otherwise"
According to Al Khater, Qatar has never had a fair chance to show that the country is suitable for a world football championship.
"In the West you are innocent until the contrary is proven, but with us it wasn't," says Al Khater. "We were guilty from the start and had to prove the opposite over and over again. If it were a different country, were the same standards applied?"
Al Khater had expected some resistance at the World Cup in Qatar, but said he was surprised by the amount of criticism from outside. "The journalists who criticize have never been to Qatar. That's why I say come to Qatar. Write down what you want to write down, but give yourself some credibility."
The World Cup in Qatar starts on November 21, 2022. The final on December 18 will be played at the Lusail Iconic Stadium.