TEL AVIV – As Qatar gears up to host the World Cup 2022, the Egyptian Al-Watan daily has accused the Gulf country of hatching a “wicked plot” together with the Muslim Brotherhood to destroy Egypt’s soccer teams.
One of the ways it will do so is by stealing Egypt’s best players to add to its own national team, the newspaper said, noting that the Qatari team is “filled with naturalized foreigners.”
“The operations carried out by Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt have not, and will never, cease,” the article, translated by the Middle East Media Research (MEMRI), read, adding that the Qataris “do the thinking, the plotting, and the funding, while the traitors in the banned organization,” the Muslim Brotherhood, execute the Qataris’ will.
The report claimed that the Qatari-Brotherhood axis is responsible for many plots against Egypt and this time “has turned to the field of sports, in a grand joint conspiracy whose aim is to destroy the important and vital field” of Egyptian soccer.
Al-Watan claimed to have obtained documents and information pertaining to a “wicked plot to smuggle a large group of talented young players” from Egypt to Qatar. The players would be naturalized Qatari citizens so that by the time it hosts the World Cup, the Egyptian players would be part of Qatar’s national team.
The article then gives the names of players whose families have allegedly been approached by Qatari sports agents.
The article prompted a response from the Egyptian Football Association, which stated that any player who agrees to play in a country like Qatar or Turkey “that is hostile to Egypt, so long as they strive to demolish and destroy Egypt” has betrayed both the game and his country, and should pay for his crime.
In a follow-up article, Al-Watan reported that the Qatari-MB plot had led some soccer teams in Egypt to adopt various preventative measures, including signing their players to contracts and holding on to their passports for safekeeping.
Relations between Egypt and Qatar have been frosty for years, for the most part over Qatar’s allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood.