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.”
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.
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.