Qatar at World Cup pinnacle after years of Mideast turmoil
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is being hailed as a success and, for the first time in decades, the Middle East has a chance to attract millions of soccer fans from around the globe.
The nation, which is still reeling from the aftermath of international protests at the beginning of this year that led to the cancellation of two friendly matches and a massive anti-government demonstration, is celebrating a dramatic turn in fortunes.
Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, has had a turbulent history in world football, but the nation’s emergence as a global power has been nothing short of remarkable.
Qatar announced last month it had become the first Middle East nation to reach a deal with FIFA for the event, which is usually held in north-eastern Brazil.
And it is no coincidence that Qatar, a major tourist and economic powerhouse – as well as the host of the region’s first World Cup in 1970 – has seen such a dramatic transformation in the past seven years.
The country’s top man in charge of the country that’s currently hosting the World Cup, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, has also taken an active role in hosting the 2022 and 2026 World Cup finals in Qatar – which could potentially be the first of its kind in Asia, Africa and South America.
With the country embarking on a period of unprecedented economic success in addition to hosting a World Cup tournament, the World Cup decision is also in keeping with a series of other major developments in the region, according to a report published on Sunday by The Associated Press.
In particular, Qatar’s recent success in hosting the Asian Games has seen the nation enter into another relationship with FIFA that could set the stage for its next World Cup in 2022.
Last month, Sheikh Tamim signed a deal with Fédération Internationale de Football Association – which governs world football – to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar for the first time.
The agreement will see the federation host the global event for the next four years.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said: “What we’ve agreed with Qatar confirms the