Nasser Al Khater told Sky News in a wide-ranging interview in Doha, Qatar’s capital, that persistent criticism of the tournament may be considered racist.
The Middle East’s first World Cup kicks off on November 19, completing a 12-year odyssey that began when Qatar won a widely disputed vote by FIFA, football’s worldwide governing body.
During that time, Mr Al Khater has ascended to the position of chief executive of the supreme committee controlling Qatar’s planning and has faced criticism.
A collection of European countries, including England and Wales, have spent the World Cup build-up emphasising concerns over migrant workers’ hardship and claiming shortcomings in Qatar’s compensation funds.
Mr Al Khater told Sky News: “A lot of people that speak about this issue on workers’ welfare… are not experts in the industry. And they’re not experts in what they’re speaking about.
“And I feel that they feel obliged, that they need to speak. I think they need to really read and educate themselves a little bit more about what’s happening on the ground in Qatar.”
A UEFA working group on labour rights in Qatar held talks at FIFA HQ in Switzerland on Wednesday.
“So when people come out and say, ‘Yes, we agree that there needs to be some sort of compensation fund’,” Mr Al Khater said, “they’re just reading off a piece of paper.
“So let’s leave that to the experts… and let us focus on football. Let the football administrators focus on their teams. And let’s just leave it at that.”
Although World Cup organisers believe there have only been three work-related deaths at stadiums, there are worries that more migrant workers perished on larger infrastructure projects across Qatar, as each fatality is not thoroughly probed.
Mr. Al Khater cited Qatar’s improved labour rules and the implementation of a minimum wage.
However, Qatar is unwilling to modify anti-LGBTQ+ laws in response to visiting fans’ worries, but has promised that no one will be discriminated against during the 29-day event and that gay supporters can hold hands.
“All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture,” Mr Al Khater said.
“At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, if you’re not destroying public property, as long as you’re behaving in a way that’s not harmful, then everybody’s welcome and you have nothing to worry about.”