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Gareth Southgate says England will not be afraid to talk about human rights concerns at the World Cup.
FIFA has issued a plea to the 32 competing nations to “let football take the stage” at the tournament in Qatar but the Three Lions boss says it is “highly unlikely” that the team will adhere to the governing body’s request.
The decision to host the World Cup in the Gulf state has caused deep controversy due to Qatar’s stance on homosexuality – which is illegal in the country – and the deaths of migrant workers who have helped build stadiums for the tournament.
Speaking after announcing England’s 26-man World Cup squad on Thursday (10.11.22), Southgate said: “We have always spoken about issues we think should be talked about, particularly the ones we feel we can affect.
“Contrary to one or two observations in the last few weeks, we have spoken in the same way other nations have spoken about this tournament, the human rights challenges. We’ve been very clear on our standpoint on that.
“So, look I think we would like to focus primarily on the football. For every player, every coach and everybody travelling to a World Cup, this is a carnival of football.
“It is the thing you work for this your whole life and you don’t want that to be diminished by everything else that is going on around it currently. But we recognise we are going to be in that situation, we’ve got to accept and deal with it.”
Southgate added that the England team “stands for inclusivity” in regard to Qatar’s anti-LGBT laws and pointed out that a number of the community helped the nation’s women’s team to win the European Championships this summer.
The 52-year-old coach said: “So regarding the LGBT community, we stand for inclusivity and we are very, very strong on that. We think that is important in terms of all our supporters.
“We understand the challenges this tournament brings within that, If it wasn’t for the strength of that community, we wouldn’t be women’s European champions. So it’s very, very important to us.”