World Cup ambassador from Qatar denounces homosexuality
Former World Cup ambassador Qatari Hamad bin Jassim has said he was unaware of his nationality when he signed up to represent his adoptive nation’s national football team as part of the official delegation for the 2006 World Cup.
In his interview with the South African website The Edge on Monday, Hamad, who now lives in Qatar, also denied that he was a member of the conservative Qatari family that has dominated the country’s public life for more than a decade.
“After I qualified, I said to myself, ‘I should be doing this. I should be doing that. I should be doing this kind of work,” he said. “As soon as I had qualified, I started doing some public relations work with the Qatar Foundation. And then I met with senior officials of the government and I asked them, ‘Do you want me to represent the country?’ And they said, ‘Yes, we want you to be the ambassador.’ And I was the first ambassador from Qatar to be offered the position.”
When asked by The Edge editor-in-chief Alex van der Tuin, Hamad was unequivocal about his decision to represent his adopted country: “No, I was not told anything about my nationality.
“There was no problem. I just said, ‘I want to represent my country. I am happy with that. I will do as much of this job as is necessary, and that’s it.’ There were many people who did the same. I am going to give it a lot of thought as to what to do next.”
Hamad, who spent most of his career in Qatar’s oil sector, is the second-longest-serving foreign envoy to the Middle East after former Qatari diplomat Al-Waleed bin Khamis Alsaud.
But his career as an envoy saw him deal with a number of controversies, including his role in promoting women’s football in Qatar.
He was forced by international football authorities to apologize in May 2002 after he said in a newspaper interview that players who play with “a big girl’s skirt” would not be able to achieve as much success as those who wear the traditional all-