World Cup host Qatar’s ruler ‘proud’ of relationship with Russia

    WORLD Cup host Qatar’s ruler has praised Russia’s Vladimir Putin, saying he is “proud” of the relationship between their two countries.

    Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani flew to meet the tyrant in Kazakhstan just over a month before football’s showpiece tournament kicks off.

    Putin met with Qatar representatives in Kazakstan earlier this month

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    Putin met with Qatar representatives in Kazakstan earlier this monthCredit: AFP

    It came despite Russia being banned from the world’s sporting stage since its invasion of Ukraine in February.

    Chief of the World Cup organising committee, Nasser al-Khater, fuelled further outrage by warning against the tournament becoming a “platform of political statements”.

    The comment is thought to be aimed at pledges by stars such as England captain Harry Kane to wear armbands rejecting strict Muslim Qatar’s ban on gay relationships.

    Sheikh al-Thani told Putin: “After Russia made a great success in organising the 2018 World Cup, Russian friends have provided great support to Qatar.

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    “We thank you for this and we are proud of this relationship.”

    Smiling Putin replied: “I’m sure that it will be a success.”

    Neither explained how Russia had helped.

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