A senior Qatar World Cup official took to social media on Friday to re-assert that the country will host the 2022 tournament after a critic claimed bookmakers had shortened odds on the event being taken away.
A defiant Nasser al-Khater, assistant secretary-general at Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, responded on Twitter after a noted critic claimed bookmakers had shortened odds on the World Cup being taken away from Qatar.
Earlier on Friday, Ghanem Nuseibeh had tweeted: "William Hill offering odds 25% chance FIFA 2022 will not be held in Qatar.
"In business terms, 25% is 'high risk'."
That prompted an uncharacteristic outburst from Khater, who wrote: "The odds were 6,000 to 1 against us winning the bid in 2009. Guess what happened on Dec 2, 2010."
He added: "Go figure, #mercenary."
Nuseibeh had already provoked anger in Qatar last week when his company, Cornerstone Global Associates, produced a controversial report claiming there was an "increasing political risk" of Doha losing the World Cup because of the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the region.
Qatar denies all the charges, but the region is currently in the grip of its worst political crisis in years.
On Tuesday, UAE foreign minister Anwar Gargash said Doha's hosting of the tournament should include a commitment to fighting extremism.
This followed remarks 24 hours earlier from a senior police official in Dubai which said the political crisis could be ended if Qatar gave up the World Cup.
This all prompted an angry response from Qatar's government communications office which said the comments were motivated by "petty jealousy", adding that the World Cup "like our sovereignty, is not up for discussion or negotiation".
Despite current events, experts still believe that Qatar will host football's flagship tournament in 2022.
"The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is probably safe," Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf analyst with the Baker Institute at the US-based Rice University, told AFP.
Meanwhile, former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has denied receiving "undue advantages" from Nasser al-Khelaifi, the chief executive of Qatar's beIN Media and president of Paris St Germain, after Swiss prosecutors opened a criminal investigation.
"I just want to say that it's not true. I have never done that. I have never received anything in exchange for anything," Valcke told French sports daily L'Equipe yesterday.
"I refute the accusations against me or Nasser. I have received nothing from Nasser, I can assure you. There was never any exchange between Nasser and I. Never."
BeIN Media denied any wrongdoing on Thursday and said it was co-operating with officials.
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