Nov 4 (Reuters) – Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al called for boycotts of the World Cup in Qatar to come from a handful of countries Not for other countries looking forward to the World Cup. -Tani said.
Qatar was the first Middle Eastern country to host the World Cup, but the small nation has come under intense pressure in recent years over its treatment of foreign workers and restrictive social laws.
The country’s human rights record has led to calls for teams and officials to boycott Nov. 20-Dec. 18 tournament, but Sheikh Mohammed said they had no water because tickets were almost sold out.
“The reason for boycotting the World Cup is not valid. There is a lot of hypocrisy in these attacks, ignoring what we have achieved,” Sheikh Mohammed told Le Monde.
“They’re being peddled by very few people, up to 10 countries, and they don’t represent the rest of the world at all. It’s unfortunate, frankly.
“The reality is that the whole world is looking forward to this celebration. Over 97% of tickets are sold.”
The plight of Qatari migrant workers was highlighted by several participating teams, including England, Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Under years of pressure from human rights groups, Qatar has amended labor laws to abolish much of the “kafala” sponsorship system, exempting workers from needing permission from their visa sponsoring employers when changing jobs or leaving the country. .
Last year, the Qatari government denied claims in a report by human rights group Amnesty International that thousands of migrant workers were trapped and exploited.
Sheikh Mohammed admitted they were trying to fix “there are still flaws” but also accused countries of “double standards”.
“Why do we systematically blame our governments for these problems, while in Europe the tiniest incidents are blamed on companies?” he said.
“I think some people don’t accept that a small country in the Middle East is hosting such a global event.”
With the World Cup less than three weeks away, world football’s governing body FIFA has urged teams to focus on the Qatar game and not allow the sport to be dragged into ideological or political “battles”.
The letter was criticized by Amnesty International, which called on FIFA to compensate migrant workers in Qatar for human rights abuses by setting aside $440 million.
Sheikh Mohammed also said that although the stadium is air-conditioned, it will not be available during matches due to Qatar’s winter climate.
“November-December temperatures in Qatar are almost lower than in European summers. Therefore, air conditioning is not used,” he said.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnech
Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.