German’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser showed up for Germany’s match against Japan on Wednesday despite her earlier stances that reprimanded Qatar’s ability to host the World Cup.
In an interview with ARD Network in October, she cast doubt on whether giving the Gulf state the hosting rights is appropriate, saying that “There are criteria that must be adhered to and it would be better that tournaments are not awarded to such states.”
Qatar sent a letter to the German Ambassador expressing “disappointment and complete rejection” of the comments made by Faeser, and demanded a ‘clarification’. Soon after, she was summoned by Qatar in protest against the comments made by her. This was the first time Qatar summoned a foreign ambassador for such comments.
“No World Cup takes place in a vacuum. Human rights always apply everywhere – and now the whole world is paying special attention,” Faeser had said before her visit.
Faeser’s remarks were also condemned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). General Secretary Nayef Al Hajraf stated that the GCC backs Doha in “addressing any interference in its internal affairs by publishing allegations that do not serve the establishment of normal relations between the two countries, as [they are] a violation of diplomatic norms, traditions and international laws.
The GCC reiterated that Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup is a source of “deserved pride”, and that it appreciates the efforts made by Qatar in establishing understanding between nations in the framework of mutual respect.
After the visit, her stance took a 180 degree turn.
“It is important to support the country of Qatar in groundbreaking reforms,” she said after her visit to Qatar, praising the middle eastern state for its considerable efforts towards betterment through labor reforms, which are comprehensive and sustainable, she noted.
Qatar’s battle with ferocious international critique
Qatar has been at the receiving end of a barrage of criticism for its treatment of migrant workers and anti-LBTQ laws. The scrutiny, often laced with misinformation and misleading rhetorics about Qatar has been persistent even as the World Cup moves forward. Qatar has introduced major reforms to improve the conditions of workers in the country, which will continue even long after the tournament.
The constant scrutiny was termed as provocative to the Qatari people, and the attacks were concerning when compared to the negative viewpoints received by the previous hosts of the World Cup.
Qatars Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani slammed the attacks on Qatar, and highlighted the fact that no other country had had to handle such bombardments of criticisms. “Since we won the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has faced an unprecedented campaign that no other host nation has received. And we had handled it at first in good faith while considering some of the criticism positive and beneficial,” Sheikh Tamim said. He also added that while some criticism has helped the state “develop aspects that needed development”, however, the opposition has inflated to include slander.
One Love Armband worn while sitting next to FIFA President Infantino
Nancy Faeser showed up wearing a red blazer, and was seated next to FIFA President Gianni Infantino. She removed the blazer to reveal the OneLove Armband which was banned for being for demonstrations of non sporting nature. Article 11 of FIFA’s disciplinary code, which covers “offensive behavior and violations of the principles of fair play” notes that anyone “using a sports event for demonstrations of a non-sporting nature” may be subject to disciplinary measures.
Several European countries, like Germany, England and Wales, had moved away from their plans of donning the infamous armband in fear of sporting sanctions that would be imposed on them.
Qatar has held on to their stance of upholding the culture of the country; LBTQ is outlawed according to the laws and culture of the Arab Islamic nation, and its visitors, while welcome, are expected to adhere to it.