In the build-up to the World Cup, former Ireland international goalkeeper Shay Given has voiced a message to ‘hypocrites’ stating it’s “rich” for countries to criticise Qatar over its stance on LGBTQ+ rights and treatment of migrant workers.
Speaking at Ireland’s Raidió Teilifís Éireann world cup launch, Given condemned countries battering Qatar with campaigns.
“I feel sometimes it’s a bit rich seeing different parts of the world hammering Qatar. There are other countries, and I live in one of them as well, who have done stuff in the past which were not entirely ethical,” said the retired goalkeeper.
“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Nobody is exempt from things that have happened.”
“There’s talk about protests [in Qatar]. I don’t know all the facts because different reports are saying different numbers of people who have passed away. I just want to talk about the football and the excitement of a World Cup. That’s not me brushing it under the carpet,” Given added.
The second-highest capped player for Ireland, Given was dubbed one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League with 113 goals in his 451 appearances.
Anti-Qatar World Cup
Given’s comments come amid a storm of criticism targeting Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup, with several footballers and coaches chiming in their opinion.
Liverpool’s coach, Jurgen Klopp, recently expressed his views on protests targeting the tournament in the Gulf state, saying it is unfair to expect players to engage in political demonstrations.
“I understand 100 percent that we talk about it. But it’s not fair to talk now to the players and give responsibility to them, because it’s more than 10 years ago that other people decided [to host the World Cup in Qatar], and we all accepted the decision,” Klopp told Sky News.
“These are the players. The tournament is in Qatar. The players go there and play the game. The decision was made by other people and if you want to criticise anybody, then criticise the people who made the decision.”
“Not the sport, not the competition, and for sure, not the players. It’s not fair that we expect from them that they go there and make big political statements or whatever. It’s just not fair,” the German boss added.
Meanwhile, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa has urged the footballing world to unite behind Qatar’s tournament.
“A successful FIFA World Cup in Qatar is the need of the hour as it is the pathway to foster and promote understanding and solidarity, and it is my sincere hope that in these challenging times, we will not be distracted from appreciating the great joy football, as a unifying force for good, is capable of bringing us,” Al Khalifa stated.