PSG CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi acknowledges human rights abuses in Qatar

Paris Saint-Germain owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi has acknowledged that his native Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, has made mistakes in terms of human rights.

As Al-Khelaifi pointed out, he has nothing to do with the organising of the tournament, but he is a powerful figure in the Gulf State. Head of the BeIN Sports group and a minister without portfolio in the Qatari Government, Al-Khelaifi holds plenty of influence and is an important voice, making it a significant admmission.

Speaking to Marca, the PSG owner was asked whether he felt the representation of Qatar in the international media was fair.

“We are not perfect, we have made mistakes, like everyone else, but we have developed as a nation and society faster than any other before. What frustrates me is that people talk about Qatar and have never been to Qatar. I don’t understand. You have to come here to see for yourself: the people, the culture, the facilities, the values, the humility that we have here… All the Qatari people are proud and honoured to welcome the world; they open their houses, their hearts, that is our culture, that is our tradition, that is the Qatari people.”

“It is in our DNA to welcome people, to open our hearts and our homes to the whole world. It’s a different culture from Europe, where in some places it’s not normal to invite someone to your house if you don’t know them, but here our door is always open.”

He was then pressed about the poor Qatari human rights record. Thousands of migrant workers have had their passports removed, been underpaid and have lost their lives in the effort to build infrastructure for the World Cup. In addition, the LGBTQI+ community do not have equal rights under Qatari law.

“I’ll say it again, we’re not perfect. We’ve made mistakes like everyone else, but we’re good people, we’re nice people, we welcome people, we care about them. Remember that we are a small nation, so friendship is important.”

“I also think there have been problems before with other World Cups and major events, but the judgment here has been completely blown out of proportion.”

“In any case, we will maintain our good disposition and look forward in a positive way.”

Much of the discourse coming out of Qatar appears to be focused on a form of whataboutery focusing on other nations. While Al-Khelaifi may have a point that the criticism has been much more intense of Qatar than other nations, it seems a weak justification for their own ‘mistakes’ as he puts it.

Tags 2022 World Cup Nasser al-Khelaifi Paris Saint-Germain Qatar
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