Qatar 2022 chief executive tells Gareth Southgate to ‘choose your words carefully’
Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater has urged England boss Gareth Southgate to “choose his words carefully” after expressing concerns over the country’s fitness to host the World Cup.
Accusations over the treatment of migrant workers and a poor human rights record have plagued the Gulf state since it controversially won the final in 2010.
Male homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment, same-sex marriages are not recognized by the government, and women’s rights are much stricter than in some other parts of the world.
Southgate previously said it was “very unfortunate” that sections of England fans were not traveling to Qatar for the World Cup this winter and stressed that no one was “happy” with the issues involved.
Ahead of their friendlies during the international break, Southgate hosted a meeting with the current England squad, discussing ongoing challenges in Qatar and opening a dialogue on how England could show their opposition.
He wondered what an English boycott of the World Cup, which begins in November, would achieve and admitted any action taken by his team would be criticized by some.
Following England’s win over Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday night, Southgate traveled to Qatar as part of the Football Association delegation to Friday’s World Cup draw.
Al Khater has been asked about the England manager’s views and hopes to have the opportunity to speak face-to-face at the FIFA congress in Doha.
“My question would be who of the England team has been to Qatar? My question to the coach has he been to Qatar? he said in an interview with Sky Sports News.
“Does he base his opinions and public statements on what he has read? Because it’s a bit of a problem when you’re just basing it on an opinion that you’re very clear about things you’ve read.
“Someone with a lot of influence like Southgate, someone with a large audience who listens to what he’s said has to choose his words carefully.
“I think before he makes such statements about the workers, he needs to come here, talk to the workers, understand what the workers get out of being here.
“There are isolated cases, these are the cases that come up in the media. However, I can assure him that if he comes here, talks to the majority of working people, they will tell you how they put their children through college, they will tell you how they built their homes for them and their families. These are stories no one hears.
“So I can’t wait to welcome him here, I can’t wait to meet him in the draw. He can listen to my opinion. He doesn’t have to believe it, but at least he has to go that far to understand different opinions, to understand different cultures.
“I express my deepest respect to him. I respect him as a coach, as a human being. I have no problem with people’s opinions. Obviously, when someone has a different opinion, you will tell them your side of the story. We can agree to disagree, but that’s fine.
Meanwhile, FIFA have announced that their new rules regarding loaning players will be implemented from July.
From July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023, a club can have a maximum of eight professionals, aged 22 and over, on loan and eight on loan.
This figure will drop to six players on loan or not from July 1, 2024.