World Cup: Fans watch from cafe after being locked out of fan zone
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Manchester United hero Gary Neville has revealed that there are reasons why Qatar, amongst other Muslim countries, should be allowed to host the World Cup. However, he feels that if they are awarded the tournament, they must be scrutinised outside of football.
Human rights issues in Qatar are at the forefront of people’s minds as the tournament got underway on Sunday night, with the home nation losing 2-0 to Ecuador. Numerous players and managers are all hoping to come together to shed a light on the issues in the Middle Eastern country and use their platform to promote positive change.
Many have questioned why Qatar have even been allowed to host the World Cup, though Neville has somewhat defended the decision. Asked whether the World Cup can now be considered a football tournament now that the stadiums are built and the competition is getting underway by BeIN Sports, he replied: “Depending what part of the world you’re in! In England, you aren’t quite going to think the same over here as you do in Qatar.
“I think that’s the reality of it the workers who built these stadiums do need thanking and honouring in the right way – but the football is here. it’s the greatest sports tournament in the world.
“There should be a World Cup in an Arab country, there should be a World Cup in a Muslim country, there should be a World Cup in the Middle East that is a fact! But we also need to challenge and scrutinise the things that go on in every country including ours and Qatar.”
FIFA president Gianni Infantino attempted to defend Qatar hosting the World Cup on Saturday ahead of the tournament’s opening game by claiming that he was ‘gay, disabled and a migrant worker’ in a bid to align himself with the minority groups that are discriminated against in Qatar. He also claimed that many people are in no position to give ‘moral lessons’.
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Despite his previous comments, Neville didn’t hold back in his criticism of Infantino and feels that he is not the right ‘face of FIFA’ to bring people together using football. He continued: “Some of the things he said yesterday were inappropriate and shouldn’t be said by him. He should be statesmanlike, he should be bringing people together, he’s the global representative of football, not answering to one or two nations which he seemed to be doing yesterday. He’s got to rise above it.
“I’m sick of these leaders like (Boris) Johnson, (Donald) Trump, Infantino and (Sepp) Blatter – they don’t unite, they divide, all their language is about division, even though they think they’re bringing people together, they’re not. Some of his language yesterday about, ‘I’m a migrant worker, I’m disabled’ is an absolute scandal, he shouldn’t be using that type of language. He shouldn’t be using those phrases in my opinion.”
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