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World Cup official: Qatar welcomes “constructive criticism

By Sampson Adedeji

Qatar 2022 deputy CEO Nasser al Khater has shrugged off criticism of the country’s ability to host world sport’s biggest event, saying critics will always be around. Qatar’s status as host nation of the 2022 tournament has been

one poorly received ever since FIFA delivered its verdict on hosting rights in 2010, amid widespread allegations of ‘vote selling’ among key FIFA decision-makers. The country’s searing heat, accessibility of alcohol and treatment of LGBTI people, women and labourers, among other issues, have been called into question. The formermost concern already appears set to wreak logistical

havoc on most global football leagues, with the 2022 tournament set to be held in the Qatari and European winter,

peak season for the world’s premier domestic competitions. Al Khater offered a response to critics at the Soccerex Asia Forum in Doha, adding that alcohol is a “non-issue”. “Critics will always be around, it’s the nature of the game. It’s the nature of hosting mega events,” he said. “You will always have people who are against it for one reason or another. We’ve always said that constructive criticism is criticism that we can deal with. We welcome it, we will extend an open arm to anybody who wants to criticise us for the sake

of constructive criticism. “The Middle East and Qatar has a lot to offer. It’s a rich culture, it’s a rich country in terms of its traditions and I think the region

as well offers the same thing. “For fans who are visiting the Middle East for the very first time, I think it will be quite an eye opener for them. “The issue of alcohol has been an issue that has been discussed over the past six years and it’s actually a non-issue. We’ve been

clear from the beginning that alcohol is available in Qatar, alcohol is legal in Qatar. “However, it’s not as readily available as it might be in other

countries. You won’t have the pub around the corner. You don’t

have people drinking alcohol in public places. However, alcohol is available in designated places.