The president of Asian football, Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, defended this Thursday the organization of the Qatar World Cupafter strong criticism of respect for human rights in the host country, which has intensified in recent years.
The sheikh, who has led the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) since 2013, responded with a proverb: “The caravan passes… And you can complete the rest.”
He meant that, despite the criticism, the tournament is moving forward.
“The organization of the World Cup is wonderful and the atmosphere is positive. There are no problems at the level of infrastructure or stadiums in Qatar,” stated the leader of Bahrain, whose confederation has 47 member countries out of the 211 members of FIFA, including Qatar.
“This Cup will be one of the most successful”, added Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa.
Since FIFA awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010, the first Arab country to host the competition, the organization has been criticized by human rights groups for its treatment of foreign workers, the LGBTQ+ community and women in the country.
These accusations were emphatically denied by the authorities, who claim to have reformed the labor legislation, and by the organizers of the World Cup in Qatar, who guarantee that members of the LGBTQ+ community would be received without discrimination, to the detriment of the norms that criminalize homosexual relationships in this small country. conservative muslim.
On Wednesday, during the traditional photo before the start of the match against Japan, the German players put their hands over their mouths, in a sign of the imposed silence, while the German federation sent a scathing statement on social networks to make it clear that ” human rights cannot be negotiated”.
Qatar will host the 2023 Asian Cup after China announced its withdrawal in May due to the covid pandemic.
The Asian Cup is held every four years. Qatar won the trophy in the last edition, in 2019, organized in the United Arab Emirates.