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Why did a Qatari sheik refuse to greet the female referees? The versions diverge

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On Thursday 11 February, during the club world cup trophy ceremony, video footage toured social networks won by Bayern Munich.

And for a good reason! We see Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani who would have refused to greet Brazilian referees Edina Alves Batista and Neuza Back. Which quickly created a real controversy.

Qatari sheik reportedly refused to greet female referees.


On February 11, Bayern Munich won the FIFA Club World Cup in Al-Rayyan. However, it is not the result that will be remembered from this match but his trophy presentation.

Indeed, after the game, images of the trophy ceremony created an outcry on the Internet. The reason? Well, Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, a member of the royal family, waved his fist at the male referees. But seems to refuse to greet the two female referees, Edina Alves Batista and Neuza Back.

A cut sequence.

They indeed passed in front of him after receiving their medal from the president of the International Federation (Fifa), Gianni Infantino. The latter even slipped a few words to them. This is done before they pass the sheik. However, it is not possible to hear or know what he is saying to them.

The video footage, filmed by the American television channel Fox Sport 1, is then cut. It is therefore also impossible to say whether the last two referees greeted the Sheikh or not.

Does a sheik refuse to greet female referees: a form of sexism?

Source: Le Parisien

However, for many, this is a form of sexism linked to the brother of Qatar’s religious convictions. Moreover, this sequence very quickly became the symbol of discrimination against women.

Especially since Giulio Cavalli, an Italian actor and environmentalist politician, assured on Twitter that Gianni Infantino asked: “The refereeing team’s women not annoy the Sheikh and avoid unclean contact Football prefers briefcases full of cash to rights. What an embarrassment ”.

“Limit the risk of the virus spreading.

Yet, in the absence of the two female referees’ version that the sheik allegedly refused to greet, this allegation remains unverifiable. But in the meantime, Qatar evokes, for its part, in a press release a “misunderstanding.”

The country justifies the streak by the coronavirus pandemic. “To limit the risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading, strict protocols were in place. Everyone involved in the tournament was strongly advised to avoid all physical contact. ”

He added, “The misunderstanding arose out of the perception that three of the match officials did not want to lead the usual ‘punch’ with His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani. Which was, of course, their right ”.


A sheik refuses to greet the women referees: Fifa is justified.


And that’s not all! Faced with the controversy, Gianni Infantino denounced “lies” in a press release from FIFA. He said: “I took the opportunity to congratulate them for the excellent job they have done throughout the competition.”

“As everyone knows, I am a strong advocate for women’s rights and equal treatment for every human being. Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or physical ability “.

He concluded: “The statutes of Fifa explicitly state that Fifa is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human rights.” It “works to promote the protection of these rights. Those who have spread false rumors should be ashamed of their actions ”.

In any case, there is nothing to guarantee today that the sheik had indeed refused to greet the two female referees. However, criticism of Qatar continues to swell. So this is terrible publicity for the country, mostly since the Men’s Football World Cup will be held in Qatar.

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