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Monday, March 01, 2021

No shake from Sheikh: Qatari royal snubs female officials at FIFA Club World Cup

Bayern Munich players like Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich collected their trophies from Sheikh Joaan, who is the younger brother of Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: February 17, 2021 12:00:31 pm
Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani snubs female officials at the FIFA Club World Cup.

After Bayern Munich’s 1-0 win over Tigres in the delayed FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar, a member of the royal family inadvertently stole the limelight for the wrong reasons in the awards ceremony on Thursday.

In a video that went viral, as the match officials walked up to the podium in the aftermath of the final, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani greeted the male officials with a fist bump. However, when the female officials Edina Alves Batista and Neuza Back approached him, they were snubbed by the Qatari royal, who was handing out the awards alongside FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

On Sunday, Qatar released a statement to say that a misunderstanding led to the Qatari Royal not bumping fists with female officials at the Club World Cup.

“During the awards ceremony at the final game of the FIFA Club World Cup 2020, there was a minor misunderstanding as medals were handed to the match officials,” the statement said. “To limit the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, there were strict protocols in place and everyone involved in the tournament was strongly advised to avoid physical contact.

“In this instance, the misunderstanding arose from the perception that three of the match officials did not want to conduct the customary ‘fist bump’ with His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, which was of course their right.

“When seen in its entirety, it is clear from the footage that this was a simple misunderstanding and there was no intention to offend. The decision to engage in any form of physical contact remains a personal preference for all players, coaches and referees, and is respected by all involved in the organising committee for this tournament and next year’s FIFA World Cup.”

According to some devout Muslim cultures, physical contact with a person of the opposite sex, except for immediate family members, is not permitted. Homosexuality is also illegal in Qatar and can be punished by death, while women’s rights are restricted due to the male guardianship law.

Earlier, Bayern Munich players like Robert Lewandowski and Joshua Kimmich collected their trophies from Sheikh Joaan, who is the younger brother of Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and is the president of Qatar’s Olympic Committee.

The 2022 World Cup is to be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18 to avoid the country’s summer heat amidst some controversy.

Several human rights organisations, including Amnesty International has strongly criticised the treatment of migrant workers involved in preparation of the stadiums and infrastructure.

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