Watford cancel Qatar friendly amid backlash from fans' group
The match was set to take place in Austria
Watford's proposed pre-season friendly with the Qatar national team has been cancelled after opposition from fans' groups.
The Hornets were reportedly set to face off against Qatar as part of their training camp in Austria, where they will be based from July 5 - July 10, playing the national side on the final day.
Qatar have already faced one British side this summer, coming up against champions of Northern Ireland, Linfield, who beat them 1-0 in a friendly in Marbella.
Hornets slammed for proposed pre-season friendly
The proposed pre-season friendly was criticised by supporters' groups Women of Watford FC - a Watford women’s supporter group - and Proud Hornets, a Watford LGBT+ supporter group.
A joint statement from the two groups said: "WOW and Proud Hornets are very disappointed that Watford FC will play the Qatar national team at its training camp.
"We urge our team to display its support for all human rights, the LGBT+ community & women's rights at the game and will discuss this directly with the club."
WOW and @ProudHornets are very disappointed that Watford FC will play the Qatar national team at its training camp. We urge our team to display its support for all human rights, the LGBT+ community and women’s rights at the game, and will discuss this directly with the club. https://t.co/TF1f6Gu41T
— Women Of Watford FC (@WOWatfordFC) June 24, 2022
Watford claim game was 'never finalised'
As reported by the Watford Observer, the Hornets have since said that the game would not be going ahead, but that it had never actually been finalised.
A club spokesman said: "The game was never finalised and it became abundantly clear this was a game not to play; as such, the schedule was revised."
Qatar - who will host the World Cup later this year - have come under huge scrutiny for the county's oppressive policies towards homosexuality, women's rights and human rights.
It remains unclear whether Watford will arrange a different friendly during their Austrian training camp.
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