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‘The campaign contains slander and double standards’ – Qatar ruler hits back at World Cup criticism

Qatar has faced unprecedented criticism since it was picked as the host of the 2022 World Cup, some of which has amounted to slander, the country’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani said in a televised address on Tuesday.

We dealt with the situation from the beginning in good faith. We even considered some of the criticism as positive and constructive,” he said.

“But it appears to us that the campaign is continuing and expanding and contains slander and double standards.”

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”.

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