Saudi newspaper 'forgets' the next World Cup in Qatar

Saudi newspaper 'forgets' the next World Cup in Qatar
2 min read
16 Jul, 2018
The Saudi-led anti-Qatar agenda has spared nothing, from hajj to sports, with the World Cup the latest target of pro-Riyadh media.
The anti-Qatar offensive has also spared nothing, from hajj to sports [Getty]
In line with the petty policy of its government, a Saudi newspaper has not only pretended Qatar does not exist, but also appeared to ignore the next World Cup, which is due to take place in the Gulf state in 2022.

Al-Hayat
, a pan-Arab newspaper owned by a member of the Saudi royal family, on Monday ran with the headline: "The World bids farewell to the best World Cup...and looks forward to the 2026 tournament!"

The World Cup concluded on Sunday with the French national team winning the title against Croatia, a day after an official ceremony handed over the hosting honours to Qatar for the 2022 tournament.

Furious at its independent foreign policy and outsized soft power, Saudi Arabia and its allies continue to impose an increasingly absurd embargo on Qatar, in place since June 2017.

In addition to a diplomatic boycott and a land, sea and air blockade that has severed relations between Qataris and their Gulf neighbours, the Saudi-led bloc has been leading a relentless PR campaign against Doha.

Media outlets based in or funded by these countries are mostly owned by government associates, and have been enlisted in the anti-Qatar agenda.

Many of these outlets have spouted fake news and crude propaganda against Qatar, with no regard to ethics or journalistic standards.

The anti-Qatar offensive has spared nothing, from the Hajj pilgrimage to sports.

In addition to issuing calls for the World Cup hosting rights to be withdrawn from Qatar, Saudi Arabia is working to create a South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) football tournament - which will exclude Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain had earlier politicised a Gulf Cup football tournament, prompting Qatar to give up hosting the games in favour of Kuwait.

During the World Cup itself, Saudi Arabia and its allies engaged in the same petty tactics, barring players in their national teams from speaking to Qatari-owned sports channel BeIn.

Saudi Arabia has also been accused of encouraging piracy of the BeIn channel's frequency, a charge they, however, deny.

Perhaps the most ridiculous omission was the deletion of Qatar from the map of the Gulf at a souvenir shop in the Abu Dhabi Louvre museum.

The museum has since apologised and retracted the map.