2022 World Cup hosts Qatar have found an unlikely supporter in the shape of Australia national team captain Tim Cahill.
The Gulf nation has come in for a barrage of criticism ever since they were awarded the right to stage the first ever World Cup finals in the Middle East back in December 2010.
Accusations of corruption and claims of labour abuse within the country have continued to undermine Qatar's preparations ever since.
The prospect of the tournament being moved to winter due to the stifling summer heat has also been a major talking point, with losing bid rivals Australia threatening legal action should FIFA ratify the switch.
However, they will not be able to count on the support of their skipper Cahill, who has given Qatar a glowing reference, praising the country's world class facilitiies and role in promoting football in the region.
"They got awarded the World Cup and for this region of the world being Qatari or being from the Middle East is a very proud thing to have," said Cahill after Australia's 1-0 friendly defeat to Qatar on Tuesday night.
"You have to give football a chance in every nation, not just those that have the biggest leagues in the world.
"Until you have seen the development here you can't critique. Look at the Khalifa stadium, go and visit Aspetar [Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital], go visit Aspire [Sports Academy] and also check out the professionals that work there. They are the best in the world, from the biggest clubs in the world.
"The money they [Qatar] put into football is overwhelming and for me, every time I come here I'm like 'wow'. They should be proud of what they are creating. For me I have no problem (in Qatar hosting the World Cup)."
The former Everton midfielder continued: "I feel they deserve the opportunity. There is a lot of people that talk about the heat and talk about the facilities, [but] they have to question themselves as to whether they have actually been here."
"They [the people of the Middle East] will prove a lot of people wrong, and if they don't they will hold their hands up gracefully because that's the kind of people they are."
Platini calls for re-vote
Cahill's comments follow on remarks made from UEFA president Michel Platini, who has again backed a fresh vote on the tournament if proof ever emerged of corruption in the awarding of Qatar as hosts.
“As for Qatar 2022, I wasn’t influenced,” the UEFA president and FIFA vice-president who voted for the Gulf state told TF1 television in France.
“As far as I’m concerned, the vote was held in all transparency and we’ve always said that in the event of the slightest hint of corruption there’ll be a new vote.
“But for now, we don’t know.”
The head of European football has never hidden the fact that he voted for Qatar in a move to help develop football in parts of the world where the World Cup has never been staged.
Last month FIFA received the findings of an inquiry over alleged corruption in the bidding processes of both Russia in 2018 and Qatar.
The man behind the report Michael Garcia has called for those findings to be made public and recently called for a "change in culture" at football's world governing body.
FIFA are expected to announce the findings and subsequent implications early next year.