QATAR’S 2022 World Cup chief last night insisted there was no danger of the country being stripped of its right to host the competition and compared controversies plaguing the bid to conspiracy theories surrounding the death of JFK.
Hassan al-Thawadi declared the World Cup infrastructure was not “being built on the blood of innocents”, in response to claims that dozens of migrant workers had died while erecting stadiums in the desert.
He also reiterated that Qatar was willing to host the tournament in winter, as world governing body Fifa prepares to debate a possible switch today, and said he had not heard from an investigation into the bid process.
“We are always comfortable and confident that the World Cup will not move from Qatar,” said al-Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.
“Have we ever had any fears? No, because we are confident of our situation and we are confident of our position.”
Responding to French reports of Qatar engaging in property deals with Fifa officials, he said: “Read the story and realise, sooner or later, I think what we’re going to see is a picture of the grassy knoll in the JFK assassination and instead of it being smoke they’re going to say it’s the Qatari headdress and it’s us.”
On allegations of migrant workers being mistreated, he said hosting the World Cup had accelerated efforts to reform laws, adding: “The government was looking into this before the World Cup came on board.”
Fifa ethics chief Michael Garcia is contacting all bidders for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments as part of an investigation into corruption claims but al-Thawadi said Qatar had not heard from him.