Manchester United and Portugal star Bruno Fernandes calls out Qatar’s treatment of workers

Much has been written and spoken about Qatar in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup later this month. Part of that is how FIFA pushed the tournament into the fall to avoid the harsh summer heat. But a large part revolves around the country’s treatment of the workers who helped build the stadiums that will host this month’s games.

And now, a prominent player from one of the biggest professional and domestic clubs has spoken out against Qatar.

Manchester United and Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes recently told Sky Sports that he and many others are unhappy with the World Cup being played in Qatar for a number of reasons, most notably schedule changes and the treatment of workers migrants

“It’s not exactly the time we want to play the World Cup,” Fernandes said, referring to the transition from summer to autumn. “I think for everyone, players and fans, it’s not the best time. The kids will be at school, people will be working and the times won’t be the best for people to watch the games.

“We know the environment of the World Cup, what has been during the last weeks, the last months, about the people who have died in the construction of the stadiums”, he added. “We’re not happy about it at all.

Fernandes was not the only United player to publicly denounce the location of the World Cup. Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen added that while he plans to play, he does not agree with how or why Qatar became the host city.

“A lot has been written, there’s a lot of attention to how it happened and why it’s in Qatar,” Eriksen said. “I don’t agree with how it happened, but we are footballers and we play football. Change has to come from somewhere else.”

Eriksen could perhaps be referring to allegations that Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup through nefarious tactics, even though Qatar was cleared in a 2014 investigation. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter adding earlier this month that he voted against Qatar and that giving them host country rights was “a mistake”.

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Other players who have condemned Qatar

Fernandes and Eriksen are not the first and may not be the last to speak out against the World Cup being held in Qatar.

Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka called an anti-gay ad made by a Qatar World Cup ambassador “very oppressive” earlier this month, saying: “It leaves you stunned that a World Cup ambassador could say something like that so soon before a World Cup.” Qatar has one of the strictest anti-LGBTQ laws and some fans are still afraid to attend the World Cup despite the country’s claim that “everyone is welcome.

Fellow German and current Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos said last year that working conditions in Qatar were “absolutely unacceptable”.

“You have to call a spade a spade when it comes to working conditions,” Kroos said on his podcast in 2021. “It’s about a lot of Qatari workers, but also migrant workers, who have to work non-stop in the heat of 50 degrees sometimes (122 Fahrenheit). At the same time, they also suffer from malnutrition, the lack of drinking water is crazy, especially in these temperatures. As a result, safety at work is not absolutely guaranteed, medical care it’s not there and sometimes there’s a bit of violence. done to the workers.”

FIFA asks players to ‘focus on football’

Current FIFA president Gianni Infantino wrote a letter to the 32 World Cup teams asking them to focus on football instead of speaking out against Qatar.

Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris somewhat agreed with that sentiment, saying he believes “there’s too much pressure on the players” to protest the World Cup. He added that the players are “at the end of the chain”. Although not as blunt, this is similar to what Eriksen said in which Lloris is implying that the biggest decision-makers should make the necessary changes.

“If you have to press, first of all, it should have been 10 years ago,” said Lloris, per The Athletic. “Now it’s too late. You have to understand that for players this opportunity happens every four years and you want every opportunity to be successful. The focus has to be on the field. The rest is for the politicians. We are sportsmen.”

That’s a sentiment shared by Bayern Munich and Germany defender Joshua Kimmich, who said in September that the players are “12 years too late” to protest the World Cup in Qatar despite misgivings about the tournament’s location.

“It’s a balancing act,” Kimmich said. “On the one hand, you’re waiting for the big event; on the other hand, there are these grievances that we deal with over and over again.”

Whether or not you believe either point is true, the tournament will continue. Qatar opens the World Cup with a match against Ecuador on November 20.

Bruno Fernandes is the latest footballer to condemn Qatar.  (Action footage via Reuters)

Bruno Fernandes is the latest footballer to condemn Qatar. (Action footage via Reuters)

Source: Manchester United and Portugal star Bruno Fernandes calls out Qatar’s treatment of workers

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