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Tue 26 Nov 2013 06:47 PM

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FIFA chief defends Qatar from 'media attacks'

Sepp Blatter criticises international press for 'attacking, attacking, criticising this country'

FIFA chief defends Qatar from 'media attacks'
FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter played the popularity card on Tuesday by defending under-fire 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar over what he called "unfair" European media attacks.

The issue of Qatar staging soccer's biggest showpiece has been a thorny issue for the 77-year-old Swiss who said last Wednesday that the labour rights situation in the Gulf state was "unacceptable" amid a wave of negative headlines.

International players' union FIFPro have asked Blatter to act for a French footballer, who says he is being prevented from leaving Qatar over a contract dispute with his club, while attempts to move the event from the traditional European summer months to winter have not been warmly received.

Blatter backed the Middle East state when he gave a speech to Asian Football Confederation members in Malaysia at the AFC awards on Tuesday.

"It is not fair when the international media, and especially European media, are taking up the focus of an Arab country ... by attacking, attacking, criticising this country. We are defending it," Blatter told delegates.

"We have taken a decision to play a World Cup in the Arabic world and we have taken the decision to play in Qatar and we will go and play this ... in 2022 in Qatar."

The comments drew applause from members and AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Al Khalifa agreed with Blatter's stance.

"I think what's been said is too much," the Bahraini told a small group of reporters.

"Qatar is part of Asia and we will support the World Cup in Asia. I'm sure when the time comes we will see the success the Qataris have brought to this event.

"I think what they have been doing so far by the look of the infrastructure and all of the facilities that are going to be built for this occasion, I'm sure it will be a successful World Cup."

Blatter has acknowledged that he did not vote in 2010 for Qatar to host the finals but the critics have still been quick to bring the complaints to his door as the head of world soccer's governing body.

On Friday, the FIFA chief fired back by saying France and Germany should be held to account over the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar because they exerted political pressure to award the finals to theMiddle East state, adding financial interests were behind the decision.

There have been media reports recently of rife exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar's construction sector.

UEFA president Michel Platini, who said he voted for Qatar, is expected to challenge Blatter for the FIFA presidency in 2015, with support from powerful Middle East delegates key to claiming votes from the 47 members in Asia.

Frenchman Platini enjoys great popularity in the Middle East where Blatter has long been backed since coming to power in 1998.

"Football has also got now a political dimension," the Swiss said on Tuesday.

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justsayin 6 years ago

Oh dear what is worse, Sepp Blatter defending you or against you!

Between a rock and a hard place.

Kifah Elmousa 6 years ago

The issue which confuse me, why all this attack on a country like Qatar?
Qatar always supported all kind of issues around the world, never stirred any trouble, never stood silent (despite its small size) against wrong doing to people or countries or mistreated groups. and it competes big times in the humanitarian aides to countries around the world. Countries that Qatar is not expecting anything from like Jamaica, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Cote De voirs,...., wherever there is disasters, you will see the ISF - Qatar forces there to help and assist.
European Media should look inside and try to clean their homes before trying to hide their dirt by stereotyping silly things where they are getting benefit out of. Ask me how and I will tell you. But for now, let your people decide rather trying to undermine their intelligence. Qatar will be a great experience for teams, delegates and spectators, and they will have good memories to talk about for 4 years ahead.

Paul 6 years ago

Its not attacking Qatar for the sake of attacking! That's how you see it when you fail to see the systematic abuse Qatar inflicts in thousands of laborers.
Obviously you are not one of them, if you were you wouldnt be asking that question?

For your information, in case you havent noticed, Qatar does not have a minimum salary dictated by law that should be established in accordance with the cost of living in Qatar and not in accordance with the cost of living in the country of origin of the poor victims (laborers and maids).

Even Greece has a minimum salary by law of 500 Euros/month; whilst in Qatar - the richest country in the world - pays 150 Euros/month to many laborers. Abuse and Greed is the reason!

Exit permit, is a provocation to the civilized world in XXI century. The only reason Qatar gets away with the systematic abuse, is because you money (which pours freely out of your soil with no hard work) buys the international Media and Power Houses from the West.

vincent 6 years ago

For sure Mr. Kifah, Qatar, globally are the kingdom of human right.
For your information, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi and before, to be fair, USA as some European countries are backing or have backed not only humanitarian causes, but also terrorist group when it was serving their own interest.
By the way the Europe and its charitable associations are the first donator in the world and are operating EVERYWHERE.
Also if you are right by highlighting the support of France and Germany for the world cup and the fact that there is ulterior economic motive behind this support.
But as well as it is unacceptable to put a blind eye on the literally slavery situation for the major part of Asian unskilled workers by major foreign companies in the construction sector and globally, you shouldn't forget that if there was appropriate Labor laws and respect of the basic human right the alleged Qatar "Bashing" wouldn't have been possible if laws, when there is laws were IMPLEMENTED, which is not the case