World Cup 2022: Qatar summons German ambassador after minister’s comments

Qatar summoned the German ambassador on Friday to “protest” against comments by a minister who said the small Gulf emirate should not host the world cupe, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser also criticized Qatar’s human rights record in a TV interview on Thursday, less than a month from the 2022 World Cup.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry handed the ambassador a written “protest”, according to an official statement. The letter expressed “the disappointment of the State of Qatar and its total rejection and condemnation of the statements made by Nancy Faeser (…) regarding the right of the State of Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup”, and asked “ clarification of these statements”.

“Human rights always apply everywhere”

In an interview with the ARD network broadcast on Thursday, the German minister said: “For us as the German government, Qatar’s hosting of the tournament was very tricky.” “There are criteria that must be met and it would be better if the tournaments were not awarded to such states,” added the minister, who was due to travel with the president of the German Football Federation to Qatar on Monday.

The conservative Muslim country has faced widespread criticism over its treatment of migrant workers, as well as the rights of women and the LGBTQ community. But this is the first time that a foreign ambassador has been summoned for such comments.

According to a statement from the German Interior Ministry, Ms Faeser said the issue of human rights would be raised during her talks in Doha. “No World Cup takes place in a vacuum. Human rights still apply everywhere and now the whole world is paying special attention to them,” said the minister.

The wealthy Gulf state, which spent tens of billions of dollars to host the tournament from November 20 to December 18, has expressed growing anger at the attacks it has faced.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on Tuesday lambasted an “unprecedented” campaign against the organization of the Football World Cup, denouncing “slander” less than a month before the kick-off of this planetary event.

Qatar denounces an “unprecedented” smear campaign

“Since we had the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been the target of an unprecedented campaign that no other host country has suffered,” he said during a speech to the council legislative in Doha. For the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the organization of a first World Cup in an Arab country is “a justice done to a region suffering from an unfair stereotype for decades”.

Ever since Fifa awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, the first Arab country to host the event has come under fire over its treatment of foreign workers, LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer) and women.

Australia’s national football team on Thursday became the first team to qualify for the competition to openly criticize Qatar for the human rights abuses that have accompanied hosting the World Cup.

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