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Sat 4 Oct 2014 01:41 AM

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Asian sports chief blames media 'racism' for Qatar 2022 doubts

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia, says he will fight to keep tournament in Qatar

Asian sports chief blames media 'racism' for Qatar 2022 doubts
Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Asia’s top sports official has vowed to fight to the end to keep the World Cup in Qatar, blaming media “racism” for raising doubts about the 2022 tournament.

Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), told AFP that Asia was united behind Qatar.

“I think Qatar got it fairly, with the procedures of FIFA, and we won’t take the World Cup from Qatar because of some negative media opinion,” he was quoted as saying.

“We will resist until the end and we will fight for the right of Qatar until the end because we think it’s related more to racism than reality. I think it’s more racism than reality... the majority (of racism is from) the media.”

Last month, World Cup organisers in Qatar remained adamant it would host the 2022 tournament despite a FIFA Executive Committee member suggesting that it would have to move because of scorching temperatures.

"The only question now is when, not if," Qatar 2022 communications director Nasser Al Khater said in a statement. "Summer or winter, we will be ready."

Theo Zwanziger, the former German football association (DFB) chief who now sits on the executive committee of world soccer's governing body, had said earlier that he felt the tournament would have to be held elsewhere.

World body FIFA is evaluating a report into the votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments compiled by former US federal prosecutor Michael Garcia.

The year-long investigation involved interviewing more than 75 witnesses and compiling a dossier that includes more than 200,000 pages and audio interviews.

Al-Sabah, speaking at the Asian Games in Incheon, told AFP it was “reasonable” to hold Qatar’s World Cup in winter rather than summer but he insisted there were no grounds for stripping Qatar of the World Cup.

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Non-Muslim 5 years ago

To claim "racism" is always a very clear sign that you cannot counter true arguments.
It's a global habit.

fabio 5 years ago

Who is he kidding? If it makes sleep at night then fine, let him blame the media. What a joke?

Colm Keane 5 years ago

Absurd claim. Rightly, the rest of the world thinks it was a stupid and dangerous decision to make simply because of the climate in the Summer and the impossibility of holding it at Wintertime given that all the National Leagues are in full-swing at Wintertime.

procan 5 years ago

No Media Support, no fan support, no sponsor support. No Western Team support. There is no World Cup. At best I see a Middle East Cup. With respect.

Chris 5 years ago

Playing the race card is a true indication you are all out of common sense.

Zamil 5 years ago

it's baseless and Qatar should organize it by all means. Who said no favoritism of any sort was taken place in appointing previous countries to hold the tournament.

It is World Cup and the globe has different climate since its creation, unless you wanted to be held on 25C all the time then lets call it then Westerns Cup.

Doug 5 years ago

I guess it depends on your definition of 'Western'.

Is South Korea a 'Western' country?

Is Japan a 'Western' country?

Is Russia a 'Western' country?

But feel free to rumble on with your baseless sense of persecution.