Saudi Arabia’s sports minister has suggested that Qatar could be stripped of its right to host 2022 World Cup.
Tweeting on Saturday, Turki Al Sheikh proposed that either the United Kingdom or the United States host the event.
“I would extremely enjoy watching the World Cup if hosted in England or the USA,” he said.
“If found guilty of any ethical violations, the Qatari government must accept the consequences of their actions,” he added, referring to an announcement by FIFA, which is expected to come in September, on allegations that Doha resorted to corruption as it was competing to win the hosting right.
German magazine Focus, meanwhile, quoted sources close to Al Sheikh as saying that it had already been decided that Qatar would lose the hosting right.
The developments come amid an ongoing blockade against Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Last June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by the emirate.
Qatar has said it had too many financial resources at its disposal to be afraid of the financial assault.
Last November, the Intercept, a US-based investigative website, said it had gotten hold of documents found in an e-mail account belonging to the Emirati envoy to the US Yousef al-Otaiba exposing a detailed plot by the UAE to wage an economic war on Qatar.
Under the plan, the UAE sought to target Qatar’s currency “using bonds and derivatives manipulation.” The UAE also sought to increase Qatar’s debt by controlling its “yield curve,” referring to a standard financial-industry graph showing a country’s borrowing costs for debt that is due at different dates.
After Qatar was brought to its knees, the UAE would start a propaganda campaign to portray Doha as incapable of hosting World Cup 2022, the documents showed.