England’s Gareth Southgate has questioned the benefits of boycotting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar due to its alleged human rights abuses. The nation is scheduled to host football’s biggest event, but many nations have already announced their intention to boycott it as a result of ongoing reports on working conditions for Qatari citizens.
England manager Gareth Southgate has questioned the merits of boycotting the World Cup finals in Qatar due to the country’s human rights record.
Concerns about how migrant workers and members of the LGBTQ+ community are treated have motivated Southgate and his players to contemplate taking action to draw attention to the concerns.
On Tuesday, Southgate convened a 30-minute discussion with his players at St George’s Park to examine the matter, after which captain Harry Kane said he would contact national captains from other qualifying countries to see whether an united reaction was possible.
– Kane wants to discuss about Qatar’s record on human rights.
Some people want England to go even farther and refuse to take part. However, Southgate emphasized the complexities involved, citing debates over Russian money invested in London as a result of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the identity of Premier League club owners following Roman Abramovich’s sanctioning, which triggered the sale of Chelsea and the controversial takeover of Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
“I’m not sure what that [a boycott] accomplishes,” Southgate remarked. “Of course, there would be a major story, but the tournament would continue on.”
“Unfortunately, the main difficulty, which is most likely non-religious or non-cultural, is what occurred with the stadium construction. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about it.
“I believe we will make our decision as soon as we join the competition.” For the last four or eight years, we’ve known that this will take place in Qatar. Is the position hostile to Qatar as a country?
Gareth Southgate has expressed doubts about whether boycotting the World Cup in Qatar would accomplish anything. Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Michael Regan
“If that’s the case, are you implying that we’re protesting Qatar as a country?” As we’ve seen with Russia, we’re interwoven with all kinds of investment in our nation. Are we all going to boycott Sainsbury’s [a British retailer whose biggest overall stakeholder is the Qatar Investment Authority] as a form of protest against Qatar? The Shard [London’s tallest skyscraper]. Property investment may take several forms.
“We live in such a complicated world of transactions. As we’ve lately witnessed with Saudi Arabia. On the one hand, there is talk regarding Newcastle’s investment.
“On the other hand, we’re going to beg them to lower oil prices so we can have cheaper gasoline.” We’re all looking at these things, thinking to ourselves, “Wow, this is extremely complicated and intertwined.”
“That’s what I stated just before the holidays. This is a difficult situation. I understand that the problems themselves are not difficult, but I believe that the ramifications, diplomatic ties, and dealing with other nations and organizations are all quite difficult.”
When asked whether a boycott would be an overly simple reaction, Southgate said, “It’s conceivable, but that’s not a choice the players and myself can make.” I know I’ve heard different versions of this, but my understanding is that the FA has had meetings with organizations like Amnesty International and they believe that if we attend and these issues are recognized, there will be more change. Some of the thinking on that is also influenced by this.
“I believe the discussions with the players the other day were crucial. We’re attempting to condense a massive quantity of data into a few critical regions, giving the gamers time to consider.
“I believe it has sparked a lot of discussion amongst them, as well as among the players and staff.” I believe they’re pondering how they can best react, how they can attempt to influence the things that we may be able to influence.
“And, once again, I’d emphasize that there are certain cultural and religious factors that will be very difficult to influence and modify. Without a sure, there is a potential to utilize the voices and the platform in a good manner.
“We have a long time to achieve it, so I don’t think we should hurry into it, and I don’t think the players believe they can rush anything out and not arrive to the appropriate conclusion or notion. I’ll say it again: anything we do will be criticized, so we’ll strive to do our best.”
Southgate also claimed to be baffled as to why Bukayo Saka was sent home on Thursday evening after testing positive for COVID-19, despite the fact that UK standards do not require people to self-isolate even after catching the virus.
“I’m very befuddled by the regulations,” Southgate said. “I can’t sit here and give you a medical analysis of everything.” I’m not sure why he’s gone, but I believe you may resume your usual routine now.
“If individuals are positive, I believe they have an ethical obligation to remain away from others and prevent the transmission of the virus, but he might continue under normal circumstances. Football regulations are a little different, but to be honest, I’m lost in a jungle of uncertainty.”