“There’s not much more players can do” to address Qatar problems, claims Gareth Southgate

England manager Gareth Southgate believes there is “not much more that the players can do” to address Qatar’s human rights problems after criticism was leveled at the decision to wear special captain’s armbands during the World Cup.

The Football Association announced on Wednesday that it has joined nine other European federations to join the OneLove anti-discrimination campaign.

As part of this, England captain Harry Kane, along with the skippers of the eight other registered European nations whose teams have qualified, will wear an armband supporting the campaign at the finals.

FA chief Mark Bullingham said he had been reassured LGBTQ+ fans in England would not be arrested for holding hands or kissing in public at the World Cup in Qatar.

Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in the Gulf state, raising concerns among the LGBTQ+ community about how safe they will be at this winter’s finals.

Football has been under widespread pressure to highlight ongoing problems in Qatar as Southgate defended the latest move.

When asked if it was a matter of idealism or realism as to what sport could achieve in raising awareness in Qatar, he replied: “I think it is the case. I did a lot of research.

“I have spoken to many people, from human rights lawyers to migrant workers, that I have met in Qatar.

“There have been specific requests regarding areas that we could address, discuss and support. I think what the FA tried to do yesterday is to put these on the table.

“Then, separate from that, is the armband. This is an agreement between several European nations which we felt was a collective stance which in turn would lead to people having discussions and talking about these issues.

“People I’ve spoken to have told me – particularly human rights lawyers – that there’s not much more players can do than talk about these issues and put them on the table.



At this moment it is difficult to do more than we have been asked to do unless other ideas come up and other requests that we deem appropriate are on the table

Gareth Southgate

“Ultimately, we are demanding change in a country that we respect, that has made great strides, but over which we also have no control.

“Talking about the issues, addressing them and bringing them to the table is the tool that we sport participants have used in the past and that’s what we’re trying to do this time.

“So there’s always going to be criticism of whatever you do and we have to understand and accept that, but we’re trying to influence the areas that we’ve been asked to do and I don’t think there’s much more than that in At this point it is difficult to do more than we are told unless other ideas come up and other requests that we see fit are on the table.”

The FA are continuing to seek further details on the local organizing committee’s assurances that all fans, including those from the LGBTQ+ community, will be welcome and safe in Qatar.

Kane echoed Southgate’s sentiments when asked what his message would be to those who say the armband gesture didn’t go far enough.

“There’s only so much we can do as players and I think we’re doing what we can with the FA and with the other nations,” he said.

“I don’t think you’re going to please everyone no matter what we’ve done, but we’re trying and we’re trying to make a difference in every way we can.

England head coach Gareth Southgate during the press conference at San Siro (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA wire)

“I had a discussion with Christian (Eriksen), obviously he’s captain of Denmark, and Hugo (Lloris) at Spurs.

“It was about coming together, and I think being together sends out a bigger message than people doing individual things. There’s only so much players can actually do.

“I think wearing the armband on the biggest stage in the world, one of the most televised events in the world, will have an impact.

“But we can only do what we can and we’ve definitely taken a step forward to help some of the issues out there in Qatar.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/qatar-mark-bullingham-harry-kane-lgbtq-england-b2173413.html “There’s not much more players can do” to address Qatar problems, claims Gareth Southgate

Fry Electronics Team

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