Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the emir of Qatar, stated Tuesday that sports can play a role in uniting completely different peoples and cultures internationally.
At the United Nations General Assembly, Sheikh Tamim touted the “tremendous potentials and opportunities” that belong to his small Arab nation, which hosted the soccer World Cup final fall.
“During the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, there was an opportunity for interaction between peoples, and it was an opportunity for the world to see our people as they are and to learn about our culture and values,” Sheikh Tamim stated, calling Qatar a “global destination and nexus between East and West.”
“We emphasized the role that sports could play in building bridges of communication and rapprochement between peoples and cultures,” he continued. “I hope we had contributed through this tournament to breaking the stereotypes and presenting a new, exciting and safe tournament to the world.”
Qatar, an approximately 4,500 square mile peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia, made history last year when it hosted the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in November and December. It was the first time the soccer tournament was held entirely in the Middle East and the second time it’s ever been held entirely in Asia.
FOX Sports held the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights for the 2022 World Cup.
The tournament’s presence in Qatar was controversial since the Islamic country has faced scrutiny and criticism for its treatment of migrant workers and LGBTQ+ people.
The alleged abuses affecting legions of low-paid laborers who power Qatar’s economy and who built its gleaming World Cup stadiums were a lighting rod for protest around the world, especially in Europe.
Last October, Sheikh Tamim said Qatar had been targeted by an “unprecedented campaign” of protest over its criminalization of homosexuality, despite Qatar’s insistence that all people, including LGBTQ fans, were welcome at the World Cup — so long as they respected the Islamic country’s aversion to public displays of affection.
Sheikh Tamim took control of the oil-rich Gulf nation after his father abdicated the throne in June 2013.
The emir has promoted sports in Qatar as a way to boost his nation’s worldwide profile. An avid soccer fan, he purchased Paris Sant-Germain in 2011 by way of Qatar Sports Investment.
Qatar has served as an essential U.S. associate in the Middle East.
Qatar mediated oblique U.S.-Iran talks on the 5 Americans who have been launched Monday from Iran as half of a prisoner swap. Switzerland, which represents U.S. pursuits in Tehran as a result of the United States and Iran don’t diplomatic relations, helped with the switch of funds from South Korea to Qatar.
The Americans and two of their relations arrived in Doha, Qatar, on Monday after leaving Iran. White House officers touted the transfer as President Biden reuniting households. During the trade, the U.S. provided up 5 Iranian prisoners and returned $6 billion in frozen funds to be used in Iran.
The 5 Americans have been greeted on the tarmac in Qatar on Monday by U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis. Three of the previous prisoners, Namazi, Emad Sharghi and Morad Tahbaz, hugged the ambassador and others current after exiting the aircraft.
The Biden administration has stated that the Iranians who have been launched in the deal aren’t a menace to U.S. nationwide safety, in line with the Associated Press.
Fox News’ Greg Norman, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.