Arab states call for World Cup boycott of Qatar

When the tiny nation of Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup of soccer in 2010, many people questioned the choice for a variety of reasons.

Qatar would have to build several world class stadiums to host the games. They would have to hold the games in November-December to avoid the brutal summer heat in the desert, thus disrupting the schedule of most professional leagues around the world. There have been serious allegations that the Qatar soccer federation paid off top FIFA officials in order to secure its bid for the Cup. The FBI is investigating.

But these problems are small compared to the 800 lb gorrilla in the room; Qatar is a well known financier of extremist Islamist groups. For that reason, six Arab nations currently boycotting Qatar have called upon FIFA to cancel the 2022 bid of Qatar and award the games to another nation.

Reuters:

The Swiss website The Local reported that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had collectively written to FIFA asking it to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency.

Reuters has not seen a copy of the letter and FIFA said that their president Gianni Infantino had not received any such document.

"The FIFA president has never received such a letter and subsequently has not done any comment on that," said a FIFA spokesman.

"As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup," he added.

A source familiar with the Qatari government's World Cup activities said Qatar is aware the Saudis and others are engaged in such a move but understands Qatar has not yet received the letter.

People in the United States who represent and advise the Saudi government have also not yet responded to Reuters' request for confirmation or comment.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran. Doha denies the charges.

Qatar, a country with a negligible soccer background or infrastructure, was a controversial winner of the right to host the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in November 

There have been allegations that Qatar has used virtual slave labor to build the stadiums where the games will be played. Foreign workers have been lured to the country and then literally trapped into working for the construction contractors. Their passports have been taken, their wages have been garnished for "living expenses," and they have been denied even basic workers' rights.

But there have always been questions about enriching Qatar with millions of tourist dollars while they fund several terrorist groups. FIFA pretends that there should be no politics involved in sports, but that's nonsense. Besides, this isn't politics. It's human decency not to enrich a terror state. 

Several professional soccer leagues - especially in Europe - are suing FIFA over the dates of the Cup. Those leagues stand to lose millions of dollars in profits if the pro teams have to suspend play while their best players play for their home countries in Qatar. 

There is still time to change the venue for the 2022 World Cup. FIFA would be well advised to do so.

When the tiny nation of Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup of soccer in 2010, many people questioned the choice for a variety of reasons.

Qatar would have to build several world class stadiums to host the games. They would have to hold the games in November-December to avoid the brutal summer heat in the desert, thus disrupting the schedule of most professional leagues around the world. There have been serious allegations that the Qatar soccer federation paid off top FIFA officials in order to secure its bid for the Cup. The FBI is investigating.

But these problems are small compared to the 800 lb gorrilla in the room; Qatar is a well known financier of extremist Islamist groups. For that reason, six Arab nations currently boycotting Qatar have called upon FIFA to cancel the 2022 bid of Qatar and award the games to another nation.

Reuters:

The Swiss website The Local reported that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt had collectively written to FIFA asking it to remove Qatar as hosts under Article 85 of the FIFA Code, which allows for such action in the case of emergency.

Reuters has not seen a copy of the letter and FIFA said that their president Gianni Infantino had not received any such document.

"The FIFA president has never received such a letter and subsequently has not done any comment on that," said a FIFA spokesman.

"As already said, FIFA is in regular contact with the Qatar 2022 Local Organising Committee and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy handling matters relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup," he added.

A source familiar with the Qatari government's World Cup activities said Qatar is aware the Saudis and others are engaged in such a move but understands Qatar has not yet received the letter.

People in the United States who represent and advise the Saudi government have also not yet responded to Reuters' request for confirmation or comment.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of supporting terrorism and Iran. Doha denies the charges.

Qatar, a country with a negligible soccer background or infrastructure, was a controversial winner of the right to host the 2022 World Cup, which will be held in November 

There have been allegations that Qatar has used virtual slave labor to build the stadiums where the games will be played. Foreign workers have been lured to the country and then literally trapped into working for the construction contractors. Their passports have been taken, their wages have been garnished for "living expenses," and they have been denied even basic workers' rights.

But there have always been questions about enriching Qatar with millions of tourist dollars while they fund several terrorist groups. FIFA pretends that there should be no politics involved in sports, but that's nonsense. Besides, this isn't politics. It's human decency not to enrich a terror state. 

Several professional soccer leagues - especially in Europe - are suing FIFA over the dates of the Cup. Those leagues stand to lose millions of dollars in profits if the pro teams have to suspend play while their best players play for their home countries in Qatar. 

There is still time to change the venue for the 2022 World Cup. FIFA would be well advised to do so.

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