The Chief Executive Officer of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Nasser Al Khater, said he needs to meet with the head coach of the England national team, Gareth Southgate over his accusations concerning the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.
Recently, coach Gareth Southgate said it was a shame that some fans of the Three Lions of England would not be able to watch the team play live in Qatar because of the discrimination against migrants and the LGBT+ community in the country.
The English tactician said he would have to hold talks with his team over the complexities of playing football in Qatar.
Southgate’s comments reignited the debate over Qatar’s eligibility of hosting the entire world from November to December 2022. Since FIFA gave the country the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the country has been subjected to a series of criticism over the discrimination that abounds in the country.
Over the years the Qatari government has been criticized for the poor treatment of migrant workers in the country. Aside from that, unlike in the western world, same-sex marriage is not allowed in the Gulf State.
The week coach Southgate reminded the world about how unhealthy it is to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar was the same week, the head coach of the Netherlands Louis van Gaal described FIFA’s decision to host the World Cup in the Gulf state as “ridiculous”.
The veteran coach went on to accuse FIFA of hosting the World Cup in the middle east because of the commercial gain in it, not for developmental purposes.
In reaction to all the criticism against Qatar, especially that from coach Gareth Southgate, Nasser Al Khater, Qatar 2022 CEO questioned whether the England coach has ever been to the country.
The CEO argued that Southgate whom he described as a man who has influence and a large audience, ought to choose his words carefully and not base his comments on speculations.
Nasser Al Khater said: “My question would be, who from the England squad has come to Qatar? My question to the coach is, has he been to Qatar? Is he basing his opinions and his public statements on what he has read?” he said.
“Because it is kind of an issue if you’re basing your opinions and you are very vocal about that based on things you have read. Somebody with a lot of influence, such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, ought to pick his words very carefully.
“And I think that before making statements like that when it comes to the workers, he needs to come here and speak to workers and understand what workers get out of being here.
“There are isolated cases, those are the cases that make it to the media, however, I can assure him that if he comes here and speaks to the majority of the workers, they will tell you how they put their children through university, they will tell you how they’ve built their houses for them and their families.
“And these are the stories that nobody hears, so I look forward to welcoming him here, I look forward to meeting him at the draw and he can listen to my opinion, he does not have to believe it, but at least he needs to go that far to understand different opinions and different cultures.
“No country is perfect, let’s get that right and I do not think anybody can claim that, so if somebody is coming and claiming they are a perfect country, they need to really take a look at themselves.”
🗣 “Somebody with a lot of influence such as Southgate, he’s got to pick his words carefully.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 31, 2022
Qatar 2022 Chief Executive Nasser Al Khater has responded to Gareth Southgate following the England manager voicing concerns about the country's suitability to host the World Cup. 🏆 pic.twitter.com/UCgAG2CtYi
Qatar is the second safest country in the world
While defending his country further, Nasser Al Khater insisted that Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East, adding that the country is the second safest country in the world.
The FIFA World Cup CEO stressed that people are basing their comments about the country on things they don’t understand, urging potential visitors to the country to respect the country’s culture.
“First of all, people need to understand Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East, it is the second safest country in the world, people need to understand what that safety means and why it is the safest country in the Middle East and why it is one of the safest countries in the world,” he said.
“There is a lot of meaning in that, and I can assure fans that the reason they won’t feel safe here is because of the lack of understanding and the lack of understanding of tolerance.
“So again, people are basing their opinions and fears on things they do not understand and that is usually what causes apprehension with human beings, a lack of understanding.
“People are going to feel safe here, people are going to be very comfortable, what I can say to fans is, we are a modest country, we have our culture, we have our norms, what we ask of them is to respect it. What that means is, whether you are a gay couple, whether you are a heterosexual couple, we have the same norms, we look at it the same way.
“So, all we ask is for people to be respectful, like we are respectful when we travel around the world, and basically just to observe these cultural differences. Basically what it means is public displays of affection are frowned upon, that is simply it.”
Nasser Al Khater wants to meet with Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate will fly to Qatar ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup draw which is scheduled to take place on Friday, April 1, 2022.
Nasser Al Khater says he wants to use that opportunity to meet with the England head coach so that the coach could hear his side of the story concerning Qatar.
“If he [Gareth Southgate] is watching this interview, I extend him my deepest respect, I respect him as a coach, I respect him as a human being, as I said, I don’t have any issues with people’s opinions and obviously, when somebody has a different opinion you give them your side of the story,” he added.
“We can agree to disagree, but that is fine.”