England coach Gareth Southgate has revealed that the players and staff will “take time” to learn about human rights in Qatar after sealing their place at the 2022 World Cup.
The Three Lions only needed one point from Monday’s meeting with San Marino to secure a place in the competition, but ran on with a 10-0 victory to finish the qualifiers as Europe’s top scorers.
Other nations, including Germany, Norway and the Netherlands, have protested in the field against Qatar and the country’s World Cup award, and with England now focusing solely on the tournament, Southgate insisted they will do more research on the issues to better inform themselves.
“I’ve been in a few talks as part of an FA delegation with people from Qatar,” Southgate said (via the Evening Standard). “So I have tried to get a better understanding of the exact situation. I think we obviously take the time to inform the players a little more about what is happening.
“We need to be sure who we are talking to and exactly what issues are important, because it feels like there are many. And it is a very complicated situation for us. Because we obviously have to go and work with people and represent the country in a foreign country, and when you do, you have to be 100% sure of your facts when you speak. And it is not easy at the moment, because it is difficult to work through what is current, what is present, what is historical.
“We have a responsibility to represent our country in the right way. There are clear cultural differences between the two nations. And we, as a nation, also do a lot of business with Qatar as well. I read about Rolls Royce, 10,000 new jobs, heavy investments from Qatar in green machines and a way of working. So it’s hugely complex.
“But we will take the time to educate ourselves. And if we feel that there are areas that we can highlight and help, then we have clearly always tried to do that, and we would do that.”
Southgate’s comments come when Amnesty International called on England to take a stand on Qatar’s human rights issues before the tournament.
“The exploitation of Qatar’s massive migrant workforce has already cast a dark shadow over next year’s World Cup,” said Amnesty International UK CEO Sacha Deshmukh (via BBC Sport).
“The Football Association should use the remaining year to start pushing for lasting labor reforms in Qatar. It is part of UEFA’s working group on workers’ rights in Qatar and can pressure the Doha authorities to strengthen the protection of migrant workers, investigate workers who die and help create a tournament with a genuinely positive legacy.
“It is more important than ever for England’s coaching staff, players and supporters to raise human rights issues ahead of next year’s kick-off.”