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Qatar World Cup: FIFA writes teams and says ‘focus on football…not on ideological or political struggle’ | Football news

FIFA has written World Cup teams to urge them to focus on the tournament in Qatar and not to take part in lectures on morality and to drag football “into every ideological or political struggle that exists”.

Sky News has exclusively seen the full letter from FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, and the secretary general of the governing body, Fatma Samoura, sent under increasing pressure on players to be activists around the tournament.

It’s World Cup build-up dogged by concerns about the suffering of low-paid migrant workers to build infrastructure in the tiny Gulf state and discriminatory laws criminalizing same-sex relationships.

“Please let’s focus on football now!” Infantino and Samoura wrote to the 32 football countries that participated in the World Cup.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes that despite the controversial award of the tournament, the players should not be blamed for their participation in the World Cup in Qatar.

“We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature around the world.

“But please don’t allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political struggle that exists.”

The letter does not address requests from England and Wales and six other European countries for their captains to wear multicolored “One Love” bracelets during the World Cup, in response to concerns over Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Both British countries have already said they would defy any ban by FIFA.

Infantino wrote: “At FIFA we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without giving moral lessons to the rest of the world.

“One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means respecting that diversity. No people or culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other.

“This principle is the foundation of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values ​​of football. Please let’s all remember that and keep football at the center.”

Infantino says everyone will be welcome in Qatar “regardless of origin, background, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality”.

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England’s Beth Mead has criticized the decision to grant Qatar hosting rights for the upcoming World Cup.

The letter has been sent to the countries participating in the showpiece of men’s football with less than three weeks left until the tournament starts in Qatar.

Infantino – and his leadership team – were out of place at FIFA when a tainted group of executive committee members voted in 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar.

The last English team to play in Qatar was Liverpool at the 2019 Club World Cup. And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: Sky News this week it is “not fair” to expect political statements from players around the World Cup.

The German said: “They’re going to play football there. It’s not about the players of this generation now saying: ‘We’re not going, or we won’t do that’.

“The decision [to hold the tournament in Qatar] was made by other people, and if you want to criticize someone, criticize the people who made the decision.”

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