Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser Al Khater wants to meet with England manager Gareth Southgate to discuss his concerns | Soccer News
Qatar 2022 CEO Nasser Al Khater said he would like to meet Gareth Southgate after the England manager questioned the treatment of migrant workers in the Gulf state and claimed it was a ‘great disgrace’ that some England fans wouldn’t make it to this year’s World Cup.
Accusations over the treatment of migrant workers and a poor human rights record have plagued Qatar since they controversially won the World Cup final in 2010.
Southgate recently said he was now “clear” about the World Cup hosting issues in the region and planned to speak to his team about it.
However, in an interview with Sky Sports News The boss, Al Khater, responded by saying he “respects” Southgate as a coach and a person, but defended Qatar’s treatment of the workers.
“My question would be, who from the England team has come to Qatar? My question to the coach is, has he been to Qatar? Does he base his opinions and public statements on what he read ?” he said.
“Because it’s a bit of a problem if you’re basing your opinions and speaking very loudly about them on things you’ve read. Someone with a lot of influence, like Southgate, someone with a large following who listen to what he says, should choose his words very carefully.
Someone with a lot of influence, like Southgate, someone with a large audience who listens to what he says, should choose his words very carefully.
“And I think before he makes such statements, as far as the workers are concerned, he needs to come here and talk to the workers and understand what the workers get out of being here.
“There are isolated cases, these are the cases that come up in the media, but I can assure him that if he comes here and talks to the majority of the workers, they will tell you how they put their children to university, they will tell you how they built their homes for themselves and their families.
“And those are stories no one hears, so I can’t wait to welcome him here, I can’t wait to meet him at the draw and he can listen to my opinion, he doesn’t have to believe it, but at least he needs to go that far to understand different opinions and different cultures.
“No country is perfect, let’s get it right and I don’t think anyone can claim that, so if someone comes along and claims they’re a perfect country, they really have to look at themselves.”
Sky Sports News understands that Southgate visited Qatar.
Southgate also suggested that some of England’s LGBTQ+ supporters would not travel to Qatar for the tournament given that in the Gulf state male homosexuality is punishable by jail time, same-sex marriages are not not recognized by the government and women’s rights are much more restricted than in other parts of the world.
But Al Khater responded by reassuring all fans that they would be safe in Qatar as long as they respected the region’s norms and cultures.
“First of all people need to understand that Qatar is the safest country in the Middle East, it is the second safest country in the world, people need to understand what this safety means and why it is the safest country in the Middle East and why it is one of the safest countries in the world,” he said.
“There’s a lot of meaning in that, and I can assure the fans that the reason they won’t feel safe here is because of the lack of understanding and the lack of understanding of tolerance.
“Again, people base their opinions and their fears on things they don’t understand and that’s usually what causes apprehension in human beings, a lack of understanding.
“People are going to feel safe here, people are going to be very comfortable. What I can tell the fans is that we are a modest country, we have our culture, we have our standards, what we’re asking them is to respect it. What that means, whether you’re a gay couple, whether you’re a heterosexual couple, we have the same standards, we look at things the same way.
“So all we ask is that people be respectful, like we are when we travel around the world, and basically just to observe those cultural differences. Basically what that means is that public displays of affection are frowned upon, that’s just it.”
Southgate will travel to Qatar for Friday’s World Cup draw, with Al Khater offering to meet the England manager to discuss the issues.
“If he [Gareth Southgate] watch this interview i express my deepest respect to him i respect him as a coach i respect him as a human being like i said i have no problem with peoples opinions and obviously when someone has a different opinion you give them your side of the story,” he added.
“We can agree to disagree, but that’s fine.”
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