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Shifting sands

Qatar, the world’s richest country, is playing a dangerous game

By Sam Mendelson   May 2011

“And the winner is… Qatar!”

On 2nd December a tiny country just 100 miles long and 50 wide, with summer temperatures well above 40C and the population of a medium-sized English town, was named host of the 2022 World Cup. To worldwide astonishment, Fifa, the international governing body of association football, awarded Qatar the prize even though the country has no professional football league and no record in World Cup competition.

Some put Fifa’s decision down to a triumph of lobbying by Qatar’s ruling royal family in their constant and lavishly expensive pursuit of the world’s glittering prizes. Over more…

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