DOHA, Qatar (Fulhabress) – When Qatar was announced in December 2010 as the host of the 2022 World Cup, all members of the North American bid, considered the favourites, were havoc. All but one.
“It is impossible for Qatar to host an event like the World Cup. [a Fifa] He will come to us. “We will be the headquarters,” believed the local federation president, Sunil Gulati.
Twelve years later, the leader’s expectations have not been met. On the streets of Doha, the capital of Qatar, the message that the tournament is about to begin can be seen on every corner. The country’s flags are interspersed with an image of Laeeb, the tournament’s mascot, along with words such as Modhesh (awesome, in English), Celebration (celebrate, in English) and Haya, an Arabic term that denotes decency and humility and also refers to the “come on, come” song of the World Cup.
Paolo, at the beginning of 2020, the Secretary-General of the Implementation and Legacy Committee of the World Cup 2022 said: “It is a victory for everyone who believes that an Islamic and Arab country can host the World Cup.” Hassan Al Thawadi.
Qatar’s candidacy has survived allegations of corruption, Fifagate, trade embargoes by neighboring countries, fear of heat, accusations of human rights violations, and the largest sports laundering in history. The word sums up the use of sport by a government or country to change its image in the eyes of the international community.
The organization’s rhetoric, even four days before the first game, has not changed. Visitors have to adapt to Qatar. Not the opposite. This has not been tested yet due to the low number of tourists visible in the main points of Doha. The organization is sure that this will change in the coming days.
says Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International UK, the non-governmental organization that has denounced most cases of human rights abuses in Qatar over the past decade.
Hosting the World Cup, owning the Paris Saint-Germain (France) team – Neymar, Messi and Mbappe – and investing billions of dollars in football are pieces of a puzzle to understand what the country’s royal family wants. If Qatar is doing sports, it is a scale that has never been seen before.
Doha building site. From building or reworking eight stadiums, to infrastructure works, building construction and creating a new city (Lusail), the nation has a project beyond hosting a football tournament, no matter how big.
Even the local government managed the unthinkable: rescheduling the competition. From June to July, Qatari summer with temperatures above 50°C, until the end of the year.
“Qatar’s bid to host the World Cup is part of a strategy and a way to communicate with the world, build relationships and create interdependence with other countries. Qatar has become a legitimate and important member of the international community, in part because of hosting the World Cup,” analyzes Simon Chadwick, professor of geopolitical economics at the School of Economics. Skema Business School in Paris.
The World Cup is part of the plan so that by 2030, Qatar will be recognized as a tourism hub, reducing dependence on oil and natural gas extraction, the pillar of the national economy.
The strategy has the support of Prince Tamim bin Hamad al-Tuhamy. Your picture is everywhere in Doha. He is often on the side of his father, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who seized power in a 1995 coup.
On some sites, it is still possible to find pictures hanging after the 2018 World Cup, in which the prince is accompanied by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, the host of the tournament that year, and the representative of FIFA, Gianni Infantino.
Being more influential, for Qatar, also means enjoying protection from enemies. Two of them are on the other side of the border: the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have laid siege to the 2022 World Cup venue for allegedly supporting terrorism, something Qatar has always denied. The problem was only resolved in 2021, also with FIFA’s diplomatic efforts.
Not that all of the organization’s directors were very sympathetic to the Arab idea of holding the event.
“It is clear to me: Qatar was a mistake. The choice was bad,” former FIFA president Sepp Blatter told the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger.
Blatter favored a US victory and had political agreements on that. But the president of the Asian Confederation and a member of the FIFA Executive Committee was the Qatari Mohammed bin Hammam. Fearing a loss of power due to his rival’s influence and funds from Qatar’s candidacy, the then president acquiesced.
Hammam was banned from football in 2014 after documents were leaked to the press stating that he had been involved in paying bribes to FIFA members to try to run for president.
In recent days, Infantino has urged people to forget allegations about human rights and the LGBT + community and focus only on football. The statement sparked reactions from international quarters.
Faced with complaints about the working conditions of the country’s migrant force, who are paid low wages and work in the summer in temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius, Qatar’s government responds that the World Cup has been a force for change. He triggered amendments to labor legislation and immigration rules. For AI, these were small, not fully implemented and would have questionable consequences.
The candidacy continued until the report of American lawyer Michael Garcia, who was appointed by FIFA to conduct an independent investigation into the process of selecting host cities for the past World Cup and to investigate allegations of corruption. At the end of 2014, he left the body citing a “lack of leadership”, but issued a report stating that football authorities were reluctant to release him in full. This was the hope of those who wanted to change the location of the 2022 World Cup.
But Garcia pointed out that Qatar is not alone in committing improper acts to obtain votes. Other nominations as well. Including the United States.
Once again, Qatar won over critics and opponents. Because of that, it will be the first Arab country to host the biggest sporting event in the world, as people in Doha never tire of repeating.
Al Thawadi told Folha de S. Paul nearly three years ago.
“Food fanatic. Organizer. Hipster-friendly tv specialist. Avid reader. Devoted web ninja.”