Qatar on powder keg.. 2022 World Cup in wind.. Kuwait deals major blow to Doha
Pressures on Qatar has increased severely following controversial statements by FIFA President Gianni Infantino, intimating to the small emirate's inability to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup alone, noting the possibility of moving the big event's matches to neighboring countries.
In an interview with The Guardian, Infantino said, "Qatar is having eight stadiums and preparing for the World Cup of 32 teams, So you probably have to look to share some of the additional games outside of that country."
These statements are not the product of nowadays. They have been preceded by other statements by the FIFA President, in which he pointed to the importance of increasing the number of teams participating in the World Cup. At the Dubai International Sports Conference (DISC), Infantino said, "I was not elected to sit at a desk and open playgrounds in a beautiful country, but I am here for developing the game. There are strong teams such as Italy, Cameroon and the United States that did not participate in the last World Cup.", in an indirect indication of his desire to increase the number of teams participating in Qatar 2022 World Cup, but not to wait for 2026.
Bad relationship with neighbors
Given Qatar's bad relations with its Gulf neighbors, it would be highly unlikely that Doha-boycotting countries would agree upon its participation in the event unless the Gulf emirate complies with the conditions of its neighbors to stop inciting troubles in the region and pledge not to provide funds for terrorist groups or extremist organizations or anti-Arab regimes groups, a crisis that is not expected to be resolved in the short term under the intransigence of the Qatari regime and its hostility to its neighbors.
What backs up this later assumption on boycott is the words of Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, "I opine that Qatar is continuing in 2019 because it is connected to binding changes in the devastating objectives of Doha. The Qatari failure will continue to dismantle actions taken against despite the cost. The Qatari position is driven by the former emir and through which he defends the legacy that has made the plight of Doha."
In another tweet on Doha's need for its neighbors, he added, "Debate over Qatar's inability to host the World Cup without the contribution of its neighbors goes too far beyond sports and logistic inability and emphasizes the natural need of countries to their surroundings. Reviewing the policies of the former emir goes beyond the political dimensions as we see."
Kuwait deals its blow
Though Kuwait is not a among countries boycotting countries of Doha, it has announced, by President of the Kuwait Football Association (KFA), Sheikh Ahmad Yusuf Al-Sabah, its refusal to Doha's hosting of the World Cup matches.
The Kuwaiti rejection has dealt a major blow to Doha's efforts to distribute some games to its neighbors for its failure to host 48 teams with their fans, a matter that puts FIFA in an awkward position, either to withdraw the organization from Qatar or to abandon its development goals by expanding participation and increasing the number of teams in this tournament but not in the 2026 tournament, especially the resultant expected loss of huge advertising contracts and the significant profits that help develop the FIFA's competitions and develop the game.
Fears of Tax
These are not just Doha's concerns. In its report, the Sputnik News Agency of Russia expressed concern over Qatar's imposition of a tax on alcohols due to the influx of fans to the small emirate during the World Cup.
The Russian news agency wrote, "The issue of raising alcohol prices is likely to be sensitive in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, which is expected to attract more than 1.5 million international visitors."
Last week, the Gulf emirate imposed a 100% tax on alcohols, energy drinks and tobacco, and a 50% tax on soft drinks.
It is known that the Qatari authorities regulating the event have allowed alcohols to fans coming to watch the tournament. In earlier statements, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), Hassan Al Thawadi said that fans will be able to drink alcohols in certain designate areas and that authorities will deal with "gently" with drunken fans in a public places.
Workers are unpaid
In connection, a recent report by the Amnesty International said that dozens of foreign workers working in the city to host the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar have not been paid for months.
An investigation conducted by Amnesty International and announced last September, found that a construction contractor in the city of Lusail "destroyed the lives of some workers who have been unpaid for "cash flow problems", according to the BBC.
The organization pointed out that at least seventy-eight workers, from Nepal, India and the Philippines, have financial receivables averaged USD 2,000. Those workers are involved in building the city of Lusail which will include parks, water facilities and a game village, as well as a stadium for 80,000 people and is scheduled to host the opening and final matches.