Qatar’s World Cup boss has told the English and Welsh football associations to focus on their teams rather than demand compensation for migrant workers.
In a wide-ranging interview in the capital Doha, Nasser Al Khater also said sky news that enduring criticism of the tournament could be considered racist.
He also said that:
- Gay fans will be welcome to show their affection and rainbow flags;
- FIFA will have to decide whether captains will wear “One Love” armbands and will warn against “political messages” from teams;
- Special areas will be created for drunk fans to sober up;
- 95% of the tickets have been sold.
The first Middle East World Cup kicks off on November 19, the culmination of a 12-year journey since Qatar won a widely tainted FIFA vote.
In that time, Al Khater rose to executive director of the supreme committee that oversees Qatar’s planning and came under fire from critics.
A group of European nations, including England and Wales, have spent their preparations for the World Cup highlighting concerns about the plight of migrant workers and claiming shortfalls in Qatar’s compensation funds.
Al Khater told Sky News: “A lot of people talking about this issue of worker welfare…they’re not industry experts. And they’re not experts at what they’re talking about.”
“And I feel like they feel compelled, that they need to speak up. I think they really need to read up and educate themselves a little bit more about what’s happening on the ground in Qatar.”
Be respectful of the culture.
A UEFA working group on labor rights in Qatar held talks at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland on Wednesday.
“So when people come out and say, ‘Yes, we agree there should be some kind of compensation fund,'” Al Khater said. “They’re just reading a piece of paper.
“So let’s leave that to the experts… and focus on football. Let’s let football administrators focus on their teams. And let’s leave it at that.”
While World Cup organizers insist there have only been three work-related deaths in the stadiums, concerns remain that more migrant workers were killed at wider infrastructure works across Qatar as they go uninvestigated. background all deaths.
Al Khater noted that Qatar is improving labor laws and introducing a minimum wage.
But Qatar is not prepared to change anti-LGBTQ+ laws to address visiting fans’ concerns, though it insists no one will be discriminated against during the 29-day tournament and gay fans can shake hands.
“All we ask is that people be respectful of the culture,” Al Khater said. “At the end of the day, as long as you’re not doing anything that’s harmful to other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that isn’t harmful, then everyone is welcome and you have nothing to do with it.” worry.”
While Al Khater has said fans can display rainbow flags, he said “it’s a FIFA matter” if approval is given for England captain Harry Kane and his Wales counterpart Gareth Bale to use multicolored “One Love” bracelets that highlight discrimination.
95% of the tickets have been sold.
“As far as I understand, discussions are taking place about the different political messages that are going to be broadcast,” Al Khater said.
He added: “This is a sports tournament that people want to come and enjoy. Turning it into a platform for political statements I don’t think is suitable for sports.”
Fans will attend the matches in eight new stadiums built around Doha. Accommodation is still available through the organizers, but 95% of the tickets have been sold, Al Khater said.
To host the World Cup, Qatar has had to open more areas for alcohol sales, including outside stadiums and in fan zones, rather than remain restricted to hotel bars.
Mass gatherings of rowdy, drunken fans are uncharted territory for the first Muslim nation to host a World Cup.
Al Khater said: “There are plans for people to sober up if they have been drinking heavily.
“It’s a place to make sure they stay safe, that they’re not harmful to anyone else.”
Al Khater sidestepped ongoing concerns about whether vote buying secured World Cup hosting rights in the 2010 vote, feeling Qatar has been an unfair target overall.
“We have taken the challenge upon ourselves and we have risen to that challenge,” he said.
When asked if he felt the criticism was racist, he replied, “I’m not going to get into other people’s intentions, I’m not going to get into other people’s minds and souls.”
“But you know, who knows, possibly.”