Qatar has been hit by an “unprecedented campaign” of criticism over preparations for the football World Cup, its ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said on Tuesday.
“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,” the emir said in a speech.
FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 and it has since spent tens of billions of dollars on preparations.
But the energy-rich Gulf state has faced constant scrutiny over its treatment of foreign workers as well as LGBTQ and women’s rights.
“We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed,” the emir told Qatar’s legislative council.
“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached an amount of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign,” he said.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said the Qatar World Cup, the first in an Arab nation, will be the “best ever”.