Gareth Southgate and his England players held a meeting regarding the problems surrounding the World Cup in Qatar, with the Three Lions boss accepting that their answer would not please everyone
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Qatar’s human rights problems have been at stake for a number of years and are being exacerbated just eight months before the inaugural kick-off. Southgate and his players held talks at St George’s Park earlier this week about the troubles in the Middle Eastern country and how they will respond.
A report published in the guard in 2021 estimates that up to 6,500 migrant workers have died building stadiums since FIFA awarded the country its biggest competition in 2010.
And while Southgate has spoken about the “complex” and “complicated” issues surrounding the tournament, he doesn’t think pulling away from it would have the kind of impact many would expect. “I don’t really know what the point of that is,” Southgate explained. “It would be a big story, but the tournament would go ahead.
“The biggest problem, which unfortunately is not religious and not cultural, is what happened with the construction of the stadiums – and unfortunately there is nothing we can do about that either. We’ve known for eight years that this will be in Qatar. Is the stance against Qatar as a country? We are intertwined as we see with Russiawith all kinds of investments in this country.
“It’s such a complex world of deals as we saw with Saudi Arabia. This is complicated, the problems themselves are not complicated. All implications of diplomatic relations and dealings with other countries and other organizations are extremely complicated. It’s possible, but it’s not a decision the players or I would make.”
Earlier this week, Three Lions skipper Harry Kane said he would hold talks with other captains from leading nations to formulate a unified response. Kane said he hopes to shed some light on some of the repressive issues in the country, which still considers homosexuality illegal and has tough anti-LBGTQ+ laws.
“There are a couple of other national team captains Tottenham and maybe talk to other national captains to see if we can agree on what we can do and how to go about it. I think it’s really important,” Kane explained.
“As a nation, we want our fans to enjoy the tournament as much as we hope to enjoy the tournament. And we want them to feel safe and free to watch the games the way they want and to behave the way they want. It’s really important to have discussions and hopefully make progress because football is for everyone, football is for everyone and a World Cup is a great opportunity to show that.
“There is no bigger stage and Qatar will stand on that big stage and the light will shine on them. We want to be there for everyone after this World Cup with a really great experience.”
Southgate, who has not shied away from discussing difficult political matters during his tenure as England manager, accepts that whatever their decision, he and his players cannot please everyone.
He added: “Whatever we do, we will be criticized. We’re back in Qatar for the draw and that means more chances to meet local people. There will be things to do throughout the year, players have come out on top with a range of themes. We have to use our voice in the right way at the right time.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/southgate-england-world-cup-boycott-26557753 England boss Gareth Southgate questions the usefulness of Qatar World Cup boycott