England manager Gareth Southgate has come under criticism from Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser Al Khater for questioning Qatar’s human rights record.
Southgate confirmed earlier this month that his side intends to use the World Cup in Qatar to highlight concerns around the host country.
However, he also stressed that they must be “realistic” as any demonstration will be “complicated”.
Qatar’s stance was widely pointed to as a problem before FIFA awarded it the tournament in 2010.
Meanwhile, the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported during preparation for the finals.
Although Qatar’s organising committee disputed what it called “inaccurate claims” around the number of fatalities.
Al Khater – the chief executive of Qatar 2022 – has rebutted Southgate’s concerns, though, believing the England boss is unaware of the actual situation in the Gulf States.
Al Khater told Sky Sports:
“My question would be, who from the England squad has come to Qatar?
“My question to the coach is, has he been to Qatar?
“Is he basing his opinions and public statements on what he has read?
“Because it is an issue if you’re basing your opinions
“And you are very vocal about that based 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, ought to pick his words very carefully.
“And I think that before making statements like that when it comes to the workers,
“He needs to come here and speak to workers and understand what workers get out of being here.
“There are isolated cases. Those are the cases that make it to the media. However, I can assure him that if he comes here and speaks to the majority of the workers, they will tell you how they put their children through university, they will tell you how they’ve built their houses for themselves and their families.
“These are the stories that nobody hears, so I look forward to welcoming him here.
“I look forward to meeting him at the draw, and he can listen to my opinion. He does not have to believe it.
“But at least he needs to go that far to understand different opinions and different cultures.
“No country is perfect. So let’s get that right, and I do not think anybody can claim that, so if somebody is coming.
“And claiming they are a perfect country, they need to look at themselves.”
Al Khater, who was pictured with Southgate at an event in December 2019, also suggested fans should not be concerned about travelling to Qatar.
Al Khater added:
“People base their opinions and fears on things they do not understand.
“And that is usually what causes apprehension with human beings, a lack of understanding.
“People are going to feel safe here, and people will be very comfortable.
“We are a modest country, we have our culture, we have our norms, what we ask of them is to respect it.
“What that means is whether you are a gay couple, whether you are a heterosexual couple.
“We have the same norms. We look at it the same way.
“All we ask is for people to be respectful like we are respectful when travelling around the world.
“And to observe these cultural differences.
“It means that public displays of affection are frowned upon; that is it.”
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