Liverpool’s coach, Jurgen Klopp, has expressed his views on protests targeting the World Cup in Qatar, saying it is unfair to expect players to engage in political demonstrations on the pitch.
In an interview with Sky News, Klopp voiced that players shouldn’t be responsible for delivering a political message since they’re voyaging to Qatar for the game itself.
“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.
The Champions League crowned coach made it clear that he supports players like Harry Kane wearing an armband defending LGBT+ rights, yet the pressure for other footballers to follow is unjust.
“These boys were ten years old when the decisions were made, and now they should be in any kind of situation where they could be criticised, no way, no chance.”
Change in heart
Since winning the bid to host the World Cup in 2010, Qatar has received a barrage of criticism for its track record in its treatment of migrant workers. Scrutiny has exacerbated in the lead up to the event, set to kick off in weeks.
Earlier this week, England’s Gareth Southgate recognised that while there are still problems, there is no doubt the World Cup should go on as scheduled.
“I’ve been out to Qatar several times and I’ve met lots of the workers out there, and they are united in certainly one thing, that’s that they want the tournament to happen, and they want that because they love football,” Southgate told CNN.
With less than 20 days to the tournament, Germany’s interior minister has recalled her comments that were apparently misinterpreted during her visit to Qatar.
Nancy Faeser reassured her attendance at the World Cup and praised the country’s groundbreaking reforms.
“It is important to support the country of Qatar in groundbreaking reforms. That is why I have decided to continue to be part of the process and travel to the first match of the German team,” said Faeser.