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15th Nov 2021

Thomas Hitzlsperger does not believe Qatar will change views once World Cup concludes

Callum Boyle

“My hope for improvement is limited.”

Stuttgart sporting director Thomas Hitzlsperger does not believe that Qatar will change its oppressive views once the World Cup has concluded.

The decision to award the Middle Eastern state football’s most prestigious tournament has been met with enormous backlash surrounding the human rights issues in the country.

Homosexuality is banned in Qatar, whilst a report carried out by Amnesty international concluded that the nation had failed to look into the deaths of thousands of migrant workers since they were awarded the tournament back in 2010, with workers subjected to working in awful conditions.

And Hitzlsperger, who publicly came out as gay after he retired from professional football, feels that Qatar won’t change their attitudes towards homosexuality and human rights, adding that that FIFA’s attempts to promote the country in a positive light won’t help in the long-term.

Speaking to German magazine Kicker, he said: “My hope for improvement is limited.

“It won’t be difficult for FIFA to broadcast four weeks’ worth of pictures that give the impression of progress without anything fundamentally changing in the country in the coming years.

“I don’t believe in sustainable improvement through the World Cup alone. Russia also didn’t become more democratic and liberal after the last World Cup.”

The former Aston Villa midfielder went on to add that money played a huge role when it came to awarding Qatar the World Cup.

He said: “Let’s juts be brutally honest about it.

“The Arab world is an important market with powerful sponsors.

“They made the best bid, so we’ll play there.”

Hitzlsperger did reserve a small amount of praise for the Arab nation’s World Cup organising committee for allowing people to hold human rights demonstrations.

“That’s welcome, because such symbols always trigger discussions,” he said.

“If the World Cup takes place in Qatar, FIFA must face up to these discussions. So must Qatar.”

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