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Blair: Attack on Qatar excessive; unreasonable to disrespect country hosting world's largest event

Tony Blair, UK's former prime minister in Singapore, on 18 November 2021 [Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
Tony Blair, UK's former prime minister in Singapore, on 18 November 2021 [Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, criticised the ongoing attack on Qatar during its hosting of the World Cup, under the pretext of gay rights, stressing that the tournament has begun and appreciation must be given to the country hosting the largest event in its history.

In an interview with the British The News Agents podcast, Blair said, "I think it's not sensible of us to disrespect Qatar. This is their biggest event that they've held … it's a huge event for the country," adding "They are allies of ours; they do invest a huge amount of money in this country."

Commenting on the protests against Qatar regarding gay rights and the rights of foreign workers, he said "I think you can make the point that you hope – as I believe will happen, by the way, across the Middle East … one of the things I can see now is there is a kind of social revolution going on across the Middle East right now."

Asked about accusations of corruption to win the organisation of the World Cup, he said that "one can argue about how they got to host, but now that the event has started, it is important that now after presenting your point of view, we move forward."

READ: Qatar subject to 'excessive campaign' from World Cup criticism, French football chief says

Blair said that wearing the One Love badge, in support of the LGBT community during the World Cup does not indicate that a country would be more progressive or not.

British Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew, announced that he would wear a One Love badge while attending the crucial match between England and Wales at the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, as the German Minister of Interior did.

FIFA rejected a request from seven European teams to wear the One Love armband and threatened players with penalties and possible yellow cards. However, FIFA later announced that fans could raise flags and symbols bearing the colours of the rainbow inside the stadiums, at the request of the Welsh fans.

Blair commented on TfL's decision to ban advertisements for Qatar, and said, "I think we're in danger of going over the top on this. Remember, the last time we held the World Cup here in England, at that time in 1966, being homosexual was still illegal."

Western media and their attack against world cup in Qatar - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Western media and their attack against world cup in Qatar – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

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