11/30/2022
Despite unwanted criticism, Qatar 2022 organisers have put up a brave front as the FIFA World Cup gets off to a decent start.

While the pre-event negativity campaign surrounded around the human rights violations, OneLove armband row and later the liquor ban at stadiums, the build-up to the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador featured an allegation that the host nation had bribed some of the players from the opposition camp to allegedly lose the lung opener.

The fact that the allegation was levelled by Amjad Taha, reportedly an expert in strategic political affairs and regional director of the British centre in Saudi Arabia puts things into proper perspective.

With England losing to Russia in the bidding war for 2018 World Cup and USA losing to Qatar for the 2022 edition, it is a well-known fact that both these so-called superpowers have yet not been able to digest the ‘defeat’.

Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez seemed to be amused when asked about the internet rumour, which claimed Ecuador had been offered a bribe to lose, in the pre-match press conference.

Disinformation

“I said before: I think there’s a lot of disinformation,” the former Barcelona youth coach said. “The internet is great, but it’s also very dangerous, from my point of view. “For many years, we’ve been preparing, training. Together we’re strong, nobody will be able to destabilise us with this criticism and statements.

“We’re very motivated, excited and happy to be playing in a World Cup. We’re focusing on how to arrive with our best conditions. We don’t take anything else into account,” Sanchez added.

Baying for blood

And as the action unfolded at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on November 20 after a spectacular opening ceremony, it was Ecudor only who had the last laugh. Still the critics were baying for Qatar’s blood, pointing fingers at a goal Ecuador scored, which was later disallowed. It did not end there.

The second day of the tournament saw only the Western media report about FIFA’s ticketing system failing which allegedly left England and Iran fans struggling to get into Khalifa International Stadium. As per the media reports, the so-called problem was with the FIFA Ticketing app, but the blame was put on Local Organising Committee.

Hidden agenda

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was candid while admitting that the negative campaign against the country was all part of a hidden agenda. “Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,” Sheikh Tamim said. “We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed.

“But it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached a level of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.”

Beautiful game

The above mentioned two incidents are just a harbinger of things to come. With Qatar delivering a so-far-so-good show when it comes to the organisation, the Western media are finding it difficult to digest.

In simple words, they just cannot get away from the sour-grapes syndrome! Let’s put all those aside and enjoy the beautiful game! Yella Qatar!