The international football governing body has sent a letter to all 32 World Cup teams, urging them to “focus on the football” in Qatar and not let the sport “be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists”.
* As world Cup organisers insists that although everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome BUT seriously warn against public displays of affection by the LGBTQ group coming into Qatar for the world cup.
The letter from FIFA President Gianni Infantino and Secretary-General Fatma Samoura follows a number of protests made by World Cup teams on issues ranging from LGBTQ rights to concerns over the treatment of migrant workers, who have been vital in constructing World Cup facilities.
“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world,” Infantino and Samoura wrote. “Please, let’s now focus on the football!”
The Australian national team recently released a video criticising Qatar for its human rights record and calling for the decriminalisation of same-sex relationships, which are strictly prohibited in Qatar.
The tournament’s organisers praised the Australian players for “using their platforms to raise awareness for important matters”. Still, they added, “No country is perfect, and every country – hosts of major events or not – has its challenges.”
The captains of nine teams will wear rainbow armbands to support the LGBTQ community.
World Cup organisers have said everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or background, is welcome while also warning against public displays of affection.
Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp recently stated that he believed it was “not fair” to expect players to make political statements. “The decision [to hold the tournament in Qatar] was made by other people, and if you want to criticise anybody, criticise the people who made the decision,” he said.
In a recent television interview, the German minister for sport, Nancy Faeser, appeared to question whether Qatar should stage the tournament due to the alleged mistreatment of migrant workers and the LGBTQ community.
She later said her remarks had been “misinterpreted“, adding, “It is important to support the country of Qatar in groundbreaking reforms.”