“Qatar must reconsider its relationship with critics” – Hamad Al Attiyah

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Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah
Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah

Abdullah bin Hamad Al Attiyah former Deputy Prime Minister of Qatar, has asked his country to reconsider her relationship with countries that criticized them when the hosting rights for the 2022 FIFA World Cup was handed to them.

“Our relations with the attacking countries must be reconsidered after the World Cup. They wanted us to fail us after all the effort that was made and the sums that were spent.

“Unfortunately, there are parties who pay them huge sums of money to attack Qatar, at a time when Qatar is witnessing great progress on various levels and topping global indicators in many global fields, such as health, education and security,” the senior official noted.

The former Deputy Prime Minister who is known for pioneering in the business, energy and science industries, given his various ministerial roles since 1972, said that “relations with those countries should be reconsidered after the World Cup,” adding that the attacks were born out of “ulterior motives” as opposed to genuine concerns.

Al Attiyah also disclosed some more personal sentiments upon reflecting on Qatar’s development as a nation, and their journey to hosting the FIFA World Cup 2022.

“I considered it a dream, and told the Father Amir at the time, may God protect him, that this is a dream everyone wishes for but I do not think that we would reach it.”

For his part, Al Attiyah was aware that for the most important and largest tournament in the world, there must be an integrated system comprising of stadiums, hotels, an underground network, a deeply embedded infrastructure as well as a network of flights to connect the country with the world – and Qatar at the time had only two five-star hotels.

The dream had its roots in the early 80s, where the senior official recalls Qatar’s hosting of the Asian Cup, as per the father Amir’s evergreen wish to host international sports tournaments. The country was apparently in a deep economic crisis, having difficulty in finding funding to host the tournament.

“There was little interest at the time in the AFC championship, because the global situation in that period did not put any interest in it, and major American and European companies were not interested in a championship that had no reward. Television broadcast was also not interested in buying the rights to a championship that did not have a great return, as well as large Asian countries such as Japan or India and others, football did not have that value, but rather had interests in other games such as baseball and cricket. And so we faced a challenge,” the former deputy prime minister said.

It was these challenges, according to Al Attiyah that further encouraged Qatar’s statesmen to develop the country and set particular goals for its improvement, in order to be ready to host the World Cup – one day.

“There is a strange, strange attack that suddenly appeared several weeks before the World Cup. It is true that we heard some attacks earlier, but in the recent period they have increased and western countries such as Germany, France and British newspapers have intervened,” the senior Qatari official told Al-Watan newspaper.

“Without a doubt, there are those who are instigating the attacks for [ulterior motives] only. I believe that Qatar would organise the most successful World Cup in the history of football, all the countries that organised the tournament in the past faced problems with security, infrastructure and stadiums, but the attack on Qatar in this way is strange,” the official added, emphasising that the attacks and concerns raised are not done in good faith.

He stated that Qatar had opened its doors most for workers, embracing them and creating jobs for them, helping many homes in Asia, Africa and elsewhere.

“We live in a free world,” the former deputy prime minister said, “he who does not want to work can leave. No one is forced to work in a country that apparently oppresses workers.”

The former deputy prime minister went on to question their interference in such an “intrusive” manner, stating that Qatar does not impose its customs on anyone outside of its border – but rather leaves everyone to their freedom, unlike some of its critics who “interfere in the personal freedoms of others such as banning the veil for Muslim women despite allowing nuns to wear it.”

“As many do not know Qatar, and when they come they would see the truth on the ground, and they would see that these campaigns against Qatar are political and not real,” he said.

Al Attiyah reaffirmed the slogan that Qatari officials have repeated continuously to he press over the past decade, that Qatar “welcomes everyone and treats everyone with humane and ethical treatment without any abuse,” adding that he is proud that his country is hosting the World Cup, which has had a significant impact on the development of the country’s infrastructure and superstructure.

The former deputy prime minister finally noted that his country has played a “very important role in spreading peace around the world,” having a sizeable role in ending wars that lasted for years, such as that in Afghanistan”.

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