Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup: Challenging game amid Gulf crisis

Being the first winter World Cup in FIFA history, Qatar 2022 is going to be a special and unforgettable edition given all the controversies and challenges it faces.

Aside from the disputes like worker conditions and bid corruption allegations, the most recent surprising development of the game is the challenges brought by the diplomatic blockade from multiple Middle East and African countries, which has started in June.

Nine countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, while three other counties including Jordan have downgraded their ties with Jordan. These countries reasoned their decisions by accusing Qatar of ‘supporting terrorism’ and ‘intervening their internal affairs’.

Among these countries, Saudi Arabia and the UAE has imposed trade bans on Qutar, a country which food supplies relies heavily on import. Other actions include Saudi’s closing border, restricting airspace for Qatar Airways, advising banks to not trade in Qatar’s riyals currency, and Jordan’s withdrawal on the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera’s local media license.

These actions has made Qatar into a difficult situation, sparking uncertainties in food and resources supply, economical stability and political stability of the country, and doubts on its ability to host the 2022 World Cup.

At the Play the Game conference today, journalist James Corbett, academic James M Dorsey and Hassan Al-Thawadi, who is in charge of the preparation for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, discussed on and responded to the critics and difficulties faced by Qatar to organise the World Cup.

In light of the diplomatic crisis, will Qatar hold a successful FIFA World Cup in 2022? These are what the speakers told On the Game:

Feature Photo: Hassan Al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, speaking at Play the game 2017 taken by Thomas Søndergaard/Play the Game)

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