Nasser Al-Khater, the CEO of Qatar 2022 World Cup, said in a November 8, 2022 interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) that people critical of Qatar hosting the tournament are "politically motivated." He said that the Europeans have hosted 11 out of the 22 World Cups, so they think they have a monopoly on them, and he said that critical journalists are being unprofessional and are engaged in "yellow journalism." In addition, he said that the claims that 6,500 workers died while building the stadiums for the games are false, and that only three workers were killed. Moreover, Al-Khater said that people are using the World Cup to promote agendas like gay rights, but that in reality, fans want to watch soccer, and not politics.
Nasser Al-Khater: "We do not pay too much attention to newspapers and media outlets that were against Qatar from day one. Qatar has been subjected to fierce attacks from the moment it won the bid to host the World Cup.
"The European countries feel that they have a monopoly on the World Cup. They have hosted 11 World Cups out of 22. They are not pleased when an Arab and Muslim country like Qatar hosts a championship like the World Cup.
"We have gotten used to criticism in the past eleven years. We have answered many of the critics over the media. Some critics are not worthy of a response because they constitute 'yellow journalism.' All the newspapers we expected to be reliable, transparent, and professionally responsible, have all turned out to be 'yellow press,' unfortunately.
"The figure of 6,500 [dead construction workers] cited by some organizations is wrong. The organizations or media groups that have spread this figure… It was the Guardian, which later apologized for presenting this mistaken figure. They took the number of people who died in two or three years, multiplied it by ten, and then claimed that 6,500 workers died building the World Cup stadiums."
Interviewer: "What is the correct figure?"
Al-Khater: "The number of workers who died building the World Cup stadiums is three, unfortunately."
Interviewer: "Is that reasonable? Throughout the 12 years of construction?"
Al-Khater: "Yes. Three have died.
"With time, we began to see that the accusations were politically motivated, and to a significant extent, racist.
"We have noticed that people are massively exploiting the Qatar World Cup to promote certain agendas, like homosexual rights and other [causes]. This is a sports championship. This is a soccer championship. The people who come to watch soccer matches are not coming to watch a platform for political discussions. People watch politics at home on the news, and they want to forget. This is why the president of FIFA said that we should focus on the soccer."