Russia hands over World Cup mantle to Qatar

Russia hands over World Cup mantle to Qatar
3 min read
15 July, 2018
Russia has officially passed the mantle of the World Cup host to Qatar as they prepare to host the 2022 tournament.
Qatar will host the 2022 tournament in the winter months due to the climate [Getty]
Russian President Vladimir Putin passed the mantle of World Cup host to the emir of Qatar in a ceremony in Moscow on Sunday, whose country will hold the tournament in 2022.

FIFA announced on Friday that the tournament will be held in the winter months, so as to avoid blistering summer temperatures in the desert nation.

In a symbolic move, Putin passed Tamim a football which will later be used in the World Cup final between France and Croatia.

"The World Cup in Russia is coming to an end. We are proud of what we managed to do for fans of this wonderful sport. We, the whole country, received great pleasure from communicating with football, with the world of football, with fans who came to us from all over the world," Putin said.

"I'm confident that our friends from Qatar will be able to host the FIFA World Cup at the same high level [as we did]. Of course, we are ready to share the experience we've gained while hosting this year's FIFA World Cup with our friends in Qatar," Putin said during the ceremony of handling the mantle of World Cup hosts that Qatar.

The Qatari emir said his country, which has faced criticism over its climate and lack of stadium infrastructure, would apply all its efforts to making a success of the 2022 World Cup. "We hope to overcome all the difficulties," he said.

He added that he hoped his country would replicate the success on the pitch of the Russian team, who reached the quarter-finals and surpassed expectations.

"Although it will be hard to repeat that success as we’re a small country, but we are very keen on sport," he said.

FIFA's decision to grant Qatar the 2022 hosting rights has to date attracted considerable controversy.

Rights groups say there could be 4,000 deaths by the time Qatar completes building its final stadiums for the tournament. In 2015, a controversial Washington Post report cited at least 1,200 migrant deaths until that point.

Amnesty International has said the 2022 tournament is being "built on human rights abuses".

Qatar has responded to criticism and said progress was being made to improve the rights of migrant workers, including a number of labour reforms.

Doha recently pledged to improve human rights for foreigners, by introducing a $200 per month minimum wage, as well as allowing workers freedom to leave the country and change jobs without their employer's permission.

The Gulf diplomatic crisis - which broke out in June 2017 after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE, along with regional power Egypt, cut off diplomatic ties to Qatar - has raised further uncertainty about the tournament.

FIFA is currently studying the feasibility of moving ahead of schedule and expanding the tournament from 32 to 48 teams for the 2022 tournament.

Qatar's infrastructure, which is already stretched by the requirements of staging the Middle East's first World Cup, will be exacerbated if expanding the tournament gets a green light for 2022.