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25th Mar 2022

Gareth Southgate ‘unsure’ what boycotting Qatar World Cup would achieve

Daniel Brown

‘I don’t really know what that achieves’

Gareth Southgate has suggested he is ‘unsure’ what England would achieve by boycotting the Qatar World Cup later this year due to human rights issues in the country.

Qatar has been at the centre of controversy ever since it was awarded the finals, with the Gulf state heavily criticised for its alleged human rights violations and ill-treatment of migrant workers.

England players and staff held initial discussions on Tuesday as to how they could use their platform at the tournament to force change. However, manager Southgate has revealed a complete boycott of Qatar 2022 is not an option for the Three Lions.

Southgate World Cup boycotting

Southgate says he ‘doesn’t know’ what boycotting would achieve

“I don’t really know what that achieves,” he said. “It would be a big story, but the tournament would go ahead.

“The fact, unfortunately, is the biggest issue, which is non-religious and non-cultural, is what happened with the building of the stadiums and there is nothing we can do about that either, sadly.

“We have known for eight years that this is going to be in Qatar. Is the stance against Qatar as a country? We are intertwined, as we are seeing with Russia, with all sorts of investment in this country.

“This is complicated. The issues themselves aren’t complicated; all the repercussions of diplomatic relations and dealing with other countries and other organisations are extremely complicated.”

The England boss also insisted that he and his players will face criticism for whatever course of action they decide to take in Qatar.

Southgate World Cup boycotting

England will ‘face criticism’ for whatever course of action they take

Southgate added: “The players are thinking through how they best respond and try to affect the things we might be able to affect.

“There are things that are cultural and religious that are going to be difficult to affect and change, but there is an opportunity to use our platform in a positive way, without a doubt.

“There is a long period to do that, so I don’t think we should rush into that. I don’t think the players feel they could rush something and come to the wrong conclusion or idea.

“Whatever we do we are going to be criticised, but we are going to try and do our best. There are going to be things ongoing throughout the year.

“The players have stepped up to the plate enormously on various issues. We’ve got to use our voice in the right way and at the right time.”

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