Fans fear Qatar will be ‘awful’, says England manager Southgate

March 20 (Reuters) – England manager Gareth Southgate said he was unhappy some fans did not feel able to travel to Qatar for November’s World Cup due to human rights concerns man in the country.

Homosexuality is illegal in the Gulf state and there is also unease over women’s rights, while Qatar has come under fire since winning the right to host the tournament for mistreatment of foreign workers construction.

“There are issues that potentially threaten our fans when they travel – women’s rights and the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in particular,” Southgate said.

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“Unfortunately, through the discussions I’ve had, I don’t think some of these communities are going to leave and that’s a real shame.

“We stand for inclusivity as a team – that’s been a big driver of a lot of the positions we’ve taken over the last couple of years.

“It would be horrible to think that some of our fans think they can’t go because they feel threatened or fear for their safety.”

During qualifying for the tournament, which begins on November 21, players from Norway, the Netherlands and Germany staged protests to highlight human rights concerns in Qatar.

Southgate believe their England players will also seek to make their stance on the matter known, but have yet to work out how best to do so.

“We believe the World Cup is an opportunity to highlight some of these issues and we have a platform to be able to do that,” he said. “We also have to do it responsibly.

“I’m not sure just wearing a t-shirt makes a difference. I’m not totally sure what we can do in all aspects to make a difference. We have to be realistic about what it might be. .”

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Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, editing by Shri Navaratnam

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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