FIFA WC - Fatma Samoura: "The level of criticism has reached an unimaginable point

FIFA WC - Fatma Samoura: "The level of criticism has reached an unimaginable point

Fatma Samoura, 60, secretary general of the Fédération internationale de soccer association FIFA, gave an interview to L'Équipe during her brief visit to France. For half an hour, the Senegalese leader promoted the World Cup, minimizing the criticism made to Qatar, especially on the issue of homophobia.

"I am super excited and especially happy to know that the eyes of almost five billion people will be on Qatar. This is a World Cup of many firsts: the first in the Arab world, the first to be held in the winter (actually, in the fall, until December 18), the first where everyone is in the same place, the first where you can see a soccer game where everyone will be in the same place. The world will have a different idea about this small country of Qatar than the Western media does: Arab hospitality will be there.

When people leave, they will still have stars in their eyes for several months.
"The way Qatar is being dissected, as the emir said, I think it's the first time it's been done like this.

Is the Western media would be too harsh with Qatar?

The way we dissect Qatar, as the Emir said, I think it's the first time it's happened like this. The level of criticism has reached an unimaginable point, especially a few days before the first whistle.

Do you feel this is unwarranted?

No, there is criticism that is justified. (She looks serious) The conditions of the workers before September 2010 were not acceptable. That is the reality. Today, enormous progress has been made. There were problems, the Qatari government and authorities have agreed to open their ears to listen to the world and tell them what was wrong, but also to accompany them.

Will the World Cup bring lasting and significant progress to the country?

There is no doubt that on December 18, everyone will say, "We delivered a great World Cup, now it's up to the migrant workers to manage it. No. The government has committed itself until 2030 to continue working on several reforms already underway.

You have assured us that homosexuals can come to Qatar without any problem and enjoy the competition. Do you confirm this?

I am not the one who says so. It is the Qatari authorities who say so.

Women's rights, LGBT+ rights, alcohol: Qatar plays the card of relaxation on the occasion of the World Cup
Have you discussed this with them? Did you make sure?

Yes, we discussed it. They told us: "We will welcome the world with open arms". At FIFA, we do not discriminate between races, religions, sexual orientations or social orientations of people. This World Cup is universal. Whatever the reason you want to come to Qatar as a fan, the authorities are there to welcome you. Qatar is not a homophobic country. It has laws that can be considered quite restrictive [: the Qatari penal code provides for penalties of up to 7 years in prison].
Provides for penalties of up to 7 years in prison for homosexual relations], but you will be, for this Cup of all people, in any case, welcome. "

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