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FIFA: Keep ‘Political Battles’ Out of World Cup

  • FIFA's president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote a letter to the nations competing in the World Cup.
  • "Please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists," the letter stated.
FIFA-Qatar
FIFA

Soccer’s governing body is urging fans to avoid politics as the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar nears on Nov. 20.

As fan groups boycott the event and teams stage protests, FIFA’s acknowledgement of Qatar’s alleged human rights abuses against the LGBT community and the country’s migrant workers have remained virtually nonexistent.

On Thursday, FIFA’s president Gianni Infantino and secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote a letter to the 32 nations competing to concentrate on the game itself.

“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,” the letter reads. “But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

  • “One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its 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.”

Qatar minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the boycotts have “a lot of hypocrisy.” 

“The reality is that the world is looking forward to this celebration,” he said. “Over 97% of tickets have been sold.”

Calls to Action

Groups are giving organizers opportunities to acknowledge Qatar’s abuses.

Human rights groups called on FIFA to compensate $440 million to Qatar’s migrant workers.

One organizing committee proposed policy changes for security forces to exercise “less intervention and more mediation.” On Thursday, Qatar’s interior ministry said over 50,000 people were trained for security.

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