Several Watford right groups have criticized the arrangement by the just relegated club to play a friendly with the Qatar national team this summer.
Following the protests, Watford had to scrap the match from their tour of Austria.
The World Cup to be hosted in Qatar has been under a lot of pressure from different right groups worldwide. They have condemned the hosting rights given to the Middle East nation over many issues. FIFA has not escaped criticism for giving Qatar the World Cup hosting rights.
Despite the worldwide criticism of the host nation, the World Cup will be held this November. Qatar have made little impact in changing the perception others have of them. Despite the massive sums spent laundering its image, the World Cup host ought to do more.
Qatar have refused to back down on several stances and want to keep their ‘sanctity’ during the World Cup. Many groups still do not align with what Qatar stands for, and Watford is the latest to back out of an association with the World Cup hosts.
Criticism trailed the announcement by Watford to have an exhibition game against World Cup hosts Qatar. The Middle East side is trying to do everything possible to attract tourists to the country during the World Cup. They are doing a lot in laundering their image, but despite all efforts, Watford have backtracked on an initial agreement and scrapped the exhibition game.
Watford were due to play a friendly against the Qatari national team. The Hornets bowed to pressure and backed out of the engagement. News of the exhibition game emerged over the weekend, and the freshly-relegated Hornets had to pull out following the backlash.
Qatar have been trying to drum up support for the World Cup and have engaged many celebrities in painting a positive image for the Arab country. Among those on the cards of the Qatari nation are Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Lionel Messi. It is still uncertain how much this will affect the efforts of the World Cup hosts.
The human rights view of the World Cup hosts and their position on homosexuality and women’s rights has come under scrutiny. These groups criticized the alliance between Watford and Qatar.
Watford’s LGBT+ supporters’ group and the women’s supporters group questioned the decision to organize the friendly.
Proud Hornets and Women of Watford (WOW) released a statement decrying the arrangement. They did not hide their disappointment at the Hornets deciding to play a friendly game with the Qatar national team at its training camp.
Speaking with The Athletic, a club spokesman said the protests made it clear to them that they had to pull out of the game.
Qatar will play their first World Cup this year and are in the same group as Ecuador, the Netherlands and Senegal.