‘It’s important we respect Qatar’s culture’, Wales talks World Cup

Wales will play their three group games against England, Iran and the United States at the 40,000-capacity Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Wales will address any concerns raised about Qatar’s laws and customs at their Nations League camp this week.

In a meeting, Wales manager, Robert Page said, “It’s important we respect their culture when we get out there. We don’t want to unintentionally upset anyone,” 

 “We’ve got meetings [planned] to address anything we think is going to be an issue out there.”

The Dragons will conclude their Nations League campaign against Belgium and Poland over the next week.

Noel Mooney, the chief executive of the Football Association of Wales, indicated that after their qualification was assured through the play-offs in June, players would be polled regarding their opinions on matters concerning the World Cup being hosted in the Gulf country.

In July, Page visited Qatar as part of the Football Association of Wales delegation, and addressed concerns about temperatures “thankfully it’s not going to be that [hot] in November.”, noting that the stadiums were well air conditioned. 

“They’ve done their best to accommodate that. I went to the stadium where we play our three games and it is exceptional”, he added, speaking about the Ahmad Bin Ali stadium. 

He also praised the country’s hotel facilities, which have faced concerns over capacity and pricing: “I’m really pleased with the hotel and the training facilities are outstanding, being out there made us look forward to it even more.”

“It’s not cheap to get there and I feel for the supporters because I want them to have that great experience. But we haven’t been at a World Cup for a long time, and I believe they will get to Qatar,” 

Wales, who have qualified for the first time in 64 years, will take on their three group games against England, Iran and the United States at the 40,000-capacity Ahmad bin Ali Stadium this November.

‘Respect the culture’

Since winning the bid to host the 2022 World Cup more than a decade ago, Qatar has faced international scrutiny over human rights issues.

On a visit to Berlin in May, Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said, “we expect and we want people to respect our culture”. 

Hassan Al Thawadi, the Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) was asked at the Qatar Economic Forum (QEF) in Doha about potential protests sprouting up in the host nation.

“Protests? Protests for what? This is a tournament for celebration. From day one we’ve always said football has a very powerful ability to bring people together,” Al Thawadi said at QEF.

Al-Thawadi also echoed the Amir’s sentiments, “we ask people to respect our culture. I don’t think that’s much to ask and that’s as simple as that.” 

Speaking at the same event, FIFA President Gianni Infantino addressed concerns over whether fans may be detained for not following the customs. 

“This will not happen, of course,” he told moderator and Bloomberg anchor, Francine Lacqua.

“People will get arrested if they destroy something, if they start fighting in the streets, and I expect this to happen in World Cups normally…everyone will be welcomed.”

Western media reports have stoked fear in fans by alleging that people who engage in sexual activities outside of marriage, will be arrested. 

Infantino insisted that FIFA is “training all the officials, we are working hand-in-hand with the government and police authorities, everyone will be welcomed. If Qatar didn’t want to welcome everyone it would not have organised the World Cup”

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