Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup 2018, says FIFA
The Football Association’s general secretary, Gordon Brown, has criticised Qatar’s decision to send Chinese workers to Qatar to build the national stadium, saying he “couldn’t believe what I was seeing”.
Brown, speaking in Beijing yesterday (AEST) after the Football Association’s annual general meeting, is expected to say that the World Cup was “probably the best thing that has happened to Chinese football”.
“My personal view was: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he says.
“I’ve played for Scotland and England. Chinese football had a huge amount of success in Qatar in the 1990s. I’ve played my whole career with my head bowed and in some ways more in the dark.”
The comments follow an announcement by FIFA that the 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar. Qatar were awarded the World Cup back in November 2014 but the vote by Qatar’s tiny population of just under 4 million saw a majority of residents vote to reject it because it did not include football in the bid.
It is understood that the Chinese workers who are arriving to help build the national stadium are on their way to the Gulf, on their way to the UAE, but will likely end up in Qatar.
FIFA, who are still trying to negotiate a deal to host the World Cup in Russia in 2018 and will have discussions with both Qatar and Saudi Arabia later this year, have said that all of the Chinese workers can come to Qatar, but not all have.
FIFA also released a list of 14 other countries who have sent workers to Qatar to assist with the construction of the national stadium.
The list includes Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
China’s ambassador to Qatar Zhang Xiaoming said it was too early to say if the two countries would ever play a match at the planned stadium in Doha. But there are reports that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has also spoken