World Cup teams urged to keep politics out of tournament by FIFA
Football’s world governing body FIFA has written to teams participating in the World Cup this month urging them to focus on the sport in Qatar rather than be dragged into ideological or political “battles.”
The letter was written by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and its secretary general Fatma Samoura, and comes after protests from some of the 32 countries playing at Qatar 2022 on issues such as the treatment of migrant workers that built the competition’s stadiums and the LGBTIQ community.
“Please, let's now focus on the football!” Infantino reportedly wrote in the document seen by Sky Sports.
“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world.”
“But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists,” he added.
In his letter to the 32 MAs taking part in the forthcoming World Cup, Gianni Infantino gives us the best possible reasons for carrying on talking about 'not just football' when we talk about football. Shameless and shameful in equal measure. pic.twitter.com/GWLLzkaDrK— Philippe Auclair (@PhilippeAuclair) November 4, 2022
Some of the protests against the Qatar 2022 World Cup, which kicks off on November 20, include captains of many of the European teams planning to wear rainbow armbands and the Australian team speaking out against Qatar’s human rights record and its stance on same-sex relationships.
Football Australia has confirmed it received the letter from FIFA to Reuters but hasn’t commented further.
As revealed by the Danish FA (DBU) last month, Denmark’s players will head to the tournament without their families as a protest against Qatar’s human rights record.
World Cup organizers have claimed that everyone, no matter their background or sexual orientation, is welcome at Qatar 2022. But they have also warned against putting on public displays of affection in a country where homosexuality is illegal.
“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world,” Infantino stressed in the letter.
“One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity. No one people or culture or nation is 'better' than any other.”
“This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football. So, please let's all remember that and let football take centre stage.”