Fifa says World Cup “has been hijacked”

Paris joins big screen boycott of World Cup games from Qatar Published duration 22 June 2018

image copyright Reuters image caption The Qatar World Cup has been criticised in the past for its lack of women’s and minority participation

More than 200 countries have boycotted the World Cup in Qatar, in a move that threatens to be “the biggest challenge to the World Cup in a generation”, according to Fifa.

The move was announced by Fifa on Wednesday and came as a result of the suspension of four countries for “human rights abuses.”

These, along with other “condemnation campaigns” by countries including Senegal, Ghana and Egypt, have led Fifa’s secretary general, Fatma Samoura, to say that the World Cup “has been hijacked”.

Fifa said it regretted Qatar’s “regrettable” decision and that it was “deeply disappointed”.

“Fifa has made it clear that the World Cup is and must remain above political considerations,” it said, referring to the boycott of Qatar announced by the four countries.

Its decision followed an independent inquiry by the UN’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) into the World Cup’s environmental impact.

IOC president Thomas Bach welcomed Fifa’s protest but said that it had been “disleft by the facts and the context of the event”.

media caption Thomas Bach, the IOC president, said that the environment report had been “disleft by the facts and the context of the event”

The IOC had previously warned against the World Cup, which would be held in the Qatari capital of Doha in 14 months’ time, having said it could have “severe consequences” for global warming.

But those warnings were rejected by Fifa, who said they had been a result of countries’ criticism of Qatar, not the games themselves, and had failed to take climate change into account.

Fifa said it had decided to issue a statement after a meeting in Zurich on Friday where it had also considered whether to extend the tournament in 10 years, so as to have 15 or more finals.

But the organisation will not be making major

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