Event organizer

The organizer responds to the “ridiculous” declaration of Louis Van Gaal

Qatar’s main World Cup organizer has hit back at Louis van Gaal for criticizing the decision to host the event in the Gulf state, saying the Dutch coach failed to understand the passion of the Arab world for soccer.

Van Gaal said this week that it was “ridiculous” that the World Cup was being held in Qatar and that FIFA had only been motivated by money.

In a rare outburst, Hassan al-Thawadi, chief executive of the World Cup Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, tore into van Gaal and insisted Qatar had no regrets over their efforts to organize the World Cup which will begin on November 21.

“For someone who has had many years (as a coach) and understands the power of football, it is ridiculous that he can actually make such a bland statement,” Thawadi said in comments to an interview. published by Bein Sports TV later. Thursday.

“I’m sure he didn’t spend a lot of time understanding what football means, not just for Qatar but for the Arab world.”

Thawadi said Qatar showed during the FIFA Arab Cup in November and December, when many stadiums were packed, that it could host major events.

Thousands of journalists and officials will be in the state on April 1 for the World Cup draw and to see the World Cup stadiums that Qatar has spent billions of dollars to build.

– No excuses –

It has also organized the World Championships in Athletics, a Formula 1 race and other high level events. Its human rights record has been questioned, but Qatar says most of the criticism is unfair.

“The passion of the people of the Arab world, what football means to us, I think it’s not a ridiculous idea for an Arab nation to host the World Cup,” Thawadi said.

“It is time for the Arab world and the Middle East to take a stand within the global football community and be recognized as such.”

Thawadi said the Arab fervor for football was “unprecedented”.

“Our ability to host major events as a state is unparalleled,” he added, saying it had been recognized by the Netherlands and other major sporting nations.

“They recognize our ability and our preparation,” he added.

“Polite and simple, the Arab world deserves its right to be in the sun, in the spotlight. We’ve worked very hard to get to this point and I don’t think we’ll apologize for it.”

Thawadi said Qatar fans would be “very welcoming to the outside world”.

Van Gaal denounced FIFA for saying the World Cup was being played in Qatar to develop football there.

“But that doesn’t matter – it’s about money, business interests. This is FIFA’s main motive,” he told a press conference.

Qatar has also faced questions about its record on the treatment of migrant workers and gay rights.

Homosexuality is banned in Qatar and England coach Gareth Southgate said this week it would be “horrendous” if gay fans didn’t come to the event because they felt threatened.

England captain Harry Kane said the team would try to “shed some light” on the problems in Qatar.

The organizers have not yet responded to their comments.

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