FIFA president Sepp Blatter met with the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Wednesday to discuss preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to FIFA.com.
The website reports that Blatter and the emir also discussed the relationship between the State of Qatar and FIFA as well as the development of soccer in the region. The two also discussed reforming labor rights to ensure the welfare of migrant workers, who are mostly Asian.
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"It was great to see (Emir's) and Qatar’s commitment to use the 2022 FIFA World Cup to achieve positive social change and to promote the host country and region. Qatar takes its responsibility as hosts seriously. We also discussed the importance of further developing football in the region.”
Qatar's World Cup has been widely criticized for a number of reasons. At current rates, four thousand migrant workers -- many of whom are building infrastructure for the tournament -- are expected to die by the start of the tournament. An investigation by The Telegraph also alleged that representatives from Qatar had bribed their way to victory during the bidding process, a claim that FIFA is investigating. A number of sponsors, politicians and other observers have called on FIFA to take action.
The tournament will also likely have to be played in winter, because Qatar's summer heat is unsuitable for matches.
Blatter called awarding the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf state a "mistake," but he later labeled claims of corruption "racist."
Blatter and the emir, along with HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Personal Representative of the HH the emir, and FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke, met for an hour at Al Bahr Palace.
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- Sarah Barshop