Qatars World Cup chief warns Gareth Southgate to "pick his words carefully"

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Gareth Southgate has been told to "pick his words very carefully" by Qatar's World Cup chief executive Nasser Al Khater after he raised the issue of migrant workers' rights.

The England boss said earlier this week that he and his team can use their voices in a positive way at the tournament while touching on human rights issues including women's rights as well as treatment of the LGBTQ+ community in Qatar.

The Guardian reported last year that 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since they were awarded the World Cup, with Amnesty International reporting that, in both law and practise, women and LGBTI people continue to face discrimination.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Al Khater fumed: "No country is perfect, so if somebody is coming and claiming they are a perfect country then they need to really take a look at themselves.

"Is he basing his opinions and public statements on what he's read? Because it’s an issue when you just base an opinion that you’re very vocal about on things you have read.

"Somebody with a lot of influence such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, has got to pick his words very carefully before making statements like that.

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"Has he been to Qatar? Who from England has been here? I look forward to welcoming him here, I look forward to meeting him at Friday’s draw.

"He can listen to my opinion, he doesn’t have to believe it, but at least he needs to go that far, to understand different opinions and different cultures."

Adding: "Whether you are a gay couple, whether you are heterosexual, we have the same norms, so all we ask is for people to be respectful, like we are respectful when we travel around the world, and observe these cultural differences.

"What it means is public display of affection is frowned upon, that’s simply it."

Southgate had said: "Some of the religious and cultural aspects are going to be very difficult to change but there is an opportunity to use our voices in a positive way.

"I found the human rights issues quite overwhelming, but I’m quite clear on the areas of concern about this tournament. There are ongoing concerns about the rights of workers and the conditions they live in.

"Then there are the issues that potentially threaten our fans when they travel: the rights of women and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

"Sadly, through discussions I’ve had, I don’t think some of those communities are going to go and that's a great shame."

  • England Football Team
  • Gareth Southgate
  • World Cup

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