Middle East

Qatar World Cup audience projected at 5 billion, says FIFA boss

The 2022 World Cup hosted by Qatar is expected to be watched by 5 billion people around the world, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, said on Monday, and Reuters reports.

The TV audience for the 2018 World Cup in Russia was a record-breaking 3.5 billion people.

Qatar, a small but wealthy Gulf Arab State, will host the first World Cup in the Middle East, starting late November.

Its ruling Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, on Monday, criticised attacks on Qatar by some people, “including many in positions of influence”, over its hosting of the event.

“Even today, there are still people who cannot accept the idea, that an Arab Muslim country, would host a tournament, like the World Cup,” he said in a speech at the World Economic Forum.

READ: Qatar Emir wants World Cup visitors to respect his country’s culture

He said Qatar, like other States, was “not perfect”, but has pushed reforms and development. Reforms include raising the minimum wage and new rules authorities say are designed to protect workers, including from heat stress.

Qatar has come under intense criticism from human rights groups over its treatment of migrant workers who, along with other foreigners, comprise the bulk of the country’s population.

Qatar has said its labour system is still a work in progress, and denied a 2021 Amnesty International report that thousands of migrant workers were still being exploited.

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