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Theresa May makes bid to help bring football home – to Qatar

The Prime Minister made a pitch for UK work on the 2022 World Cup as the Gulf state’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani visited Downing Street.

Theresa May has made a pitch to help bring football home – to Qatar.

The Prime Minister raised the prospect of UK work on the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf state’s leader Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani as he arrived for talks in Downing Street.

Qatar will host the Cup in four years time after controversially being chosen by football’s world governing body Fifa.

It will be the first time it has been held in a northern hemisphere winter so players avoid games in the brutal Qatari summer heat, where temperatures can reach 50C (122F).

Now that the World Cup in Russia is completed, all eyes are on Qatar for 2022. Theresa May

Speaking as the emir arrived in Downing Street, Mrs May said they would discuss mutual trade, defence and security matters as part of the two nations’ “historic and close friendship”.

She added: “Now that the World Cup in Russia is completed, all eyes are on Qatar for 2022.

“We look forward to discussing further how we can support the work you are doing to deliver what we are sure will be a very successful World Cup.

“We are very much looking forward to discussions on that.”

Qatar is building many brand new stadiums for the World Cup and the construction has prompted warnings about worker safety and rights violations.

The emir’s visit to London has been marked by advertising campaigns critical of his regime, which is at odds with its giant neighbour Saudi Arabia.

On Monday the Guardian reported that a casting agency was offering people £20 to act as protesters outside Downing Street ahead of his arrival, before retracting the advert.

There was no sign of demonstrations in Whitehall on Tuesday as the emir arrived.

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England, captained by Spurs’ Harry Kane, finished fourth at the World Cup in Russia after being knocked out by Croatia in the semi-finals (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr al Thani congratulated Mrs May on England getting to the semi-final of the World Cup in Russia and said the country was working “very closely” with the UK.

He said: “I’m sure that the experience you have had hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and other big events, we will need this support.

“We are confident that our World Cup will be a very successful World Cup.

“Your team did very well in 2018.

“Congratulations and we hope when they come to Doha they can achieve the same thing and be very successful.”

Amnesty International UK said Mrs May should encourage the emir to use the World Cup to “transform the human rights situation of Qatar’s thousands of migrant workers”.

Campaigns director Kerry Moscogiuri said: “Qatar has promised a series of reforms to improve workers’ rights, and now is the time to deliver on them.

“All workers in Qatar should have the freedom to leave the country and change jobs, while being guaranteed fair wages and decent conditions.”

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