Qatar admit World Cup of scandal has been ‘a giant waste of money’

Qatar: Officials regretting successful World Cup 2022 bid

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Qatari people believe the World Cup has been a “giant waste of money” that has shone an unwelcome spotlight on their country and its practices, it has been reported. Host of the News Agents podcast Jon Sopel said he had spoken to several Qatari nationals who told him they wished “it would all just go away”, describing the World Cup as a waste of money and something from which “nothing good has come”. Co-host Emily Maitlis added that prior to the tournament, Qatar had “quietly got on with things in a sort of Western-friendly way” but now they had “blown it all up right in the spotlight”. 

Mr Sopel said he spoke to several Qatari nationals, who told him: “Why on earth have we bothered? We spent £200 billion on this. 

“We are vilified over LGBTQ+ rights. We are attacked for being corrupt over the manner in which we got the World Cup. 

“We are seen as kind of Victorian in the Labour laws that we have, and the way that guest workers have been treated. 

“Nothing good has come to us as a result of this. This has all been a giant waste of money and I wish it would all just go away. But it cannot.”

Reacting to that report, Emily Maitlis said: “It is so interesting when you just flip it around like that because, of course, what did Qatar have before this all started? 

“They were the little kid. They were not Saudi Arabia with Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) going around slaughtering journalists. 

“They were anonymously rich. They had wealth. They had gas supplies. They quietly got on with things in a sort of Western-friendly way, but now they have blown it all up right in the spotlight.” 

After two days of fixtures, the Qatar World Cup remains mired in controversy and scandal. 

In the latest round of issues, England and Wales’s captains were forced to ditch their plans to wear a “OneLove” armband at the last minute in solidarity with the LGTBQ+ community. 

On the eve of the tournament, FIFA announced that they had their own social campaign armbands to address the issue and any player wearing a different armband could be subject to a yellow card on the pitch.

FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino stated that there are “clear regulations on armbands”, effectively banning the use of the rainbow-coloured “OneLove” armband. 

In a joint statement from England, Wales and several other European nations, the teams responded to say we “cannot put our players” in a situation where they could be booked. 

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They said: “We were prepared to pay fines that would normally apply to breaches of kit regulations and had a strong commitment to wearing the armband. However, we cannot put our players in the situation where they might be booked, or even forced to leave the field of play.”

Former England international Alex Scott, however, who is presenting the tournament for the BBC, chose to wear the armband during her broadcast. 

Hours before the tournament started, the Qatari government and FIFA also withdrew from a contractual obligation with Budweiser to supply their alcoholic drinks at the World Cup venues.

FIFA, bowing to Qatari pressure, agreed to prohibit the sale of alcoholic drinks in stadiums for the duration of the trip, reneging on a £65 million deal with Budweiser. 

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