The England manager said no one is being “complacent” regarding the issues surrounding the World Cup Qatar.
Qatar World Cup chief executive has called for a meeting with England manager after his concerns that some fans do not feel “safe” travelling to attend the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Some supporters have expressed concerns over the welfare of workers in Qatar.
The World Cup draw is scheduled to be held in Doha on Friday and Nasser Al-Khater said he wanted the opportunity to discuss Gareth Southgate’s concerns with him.
Southgate said it is a “great shame” that some fans will miss out on the opportunity to travel to Qatar for the World Cup due to its human rights record.
“Somebody with a lot of influence, such as Southgate, somebody with a big audience that listens to what he says, ought to pick his words very carefully,” Al-Khater told Sky Sports on Wednesday.
“And I think that before making statements like that, when it comes to the workers, he needs to come here and speak to workers and understand what workers get out of being here.”
Qatari officials have repeatedly said that supporters will be safe in Doha, ensuring that all fans are ‘welcomed’ for the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Football fans missing the World Cup is a ‘great shame,’ says England manager
However, some still remain unsettled as a result of the mainstream media’s tendency to relentlessly attack the Gulf nation.
Despite the country’s progress in the migrant worker conditions field in the past years, the media has continued to portray Qatar ‘negatively’ by releasing reports on labour welfare in the Gulf country. This has saw the impetus of several calls for boycott, with Norway initiating the movement.
Amongst those who joined the boycott wave were the Netherlands and Germany, both of which decided not to follow through with their claims, with the former even stating that it does not believe that a boycott will help.
The Dutch football federation (KNVB) emanated hypocrisy due to their weak stance on their allegations against Qatar, which has changed upon a their visit to Doha in February where they got an insight of their potential well-curated facilities.
This was despite the federation telling Doha News last year that it was never in “favour” of the Qatari bid for the 2022 edition of the World Cup due to its “lack of football history and harsh temperatures.”
Held accountable for his lack of adamance in addressing the migrant workers concerns in Qatar, FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino said that he was “one of those criticizing too when I was elected president.”
The Associated Press said if Qatar wanted to boost endorsement of its transformation to “offset protests from human rights groups, it can turn to Infantino.”
“Of course, it’s not paradise,” Infantino said. “Of course it’s not perfect. Of course, there is still work to be done, but we need to stay there. We need to continue. We need to work together. We need to encourage change because not everyone wants change, even in Qatar or in the Gulf.”
“But the leadership wants change.”
The Gulf country has seen an influx of labour reforms in the recent years ahead of the World Cup, which is a testament to Qatar’s willingness to better its workers situation at home.
Qatar’s labour reforms
Law No. 18 of 2020 mandated the removal of the governmental demand for labours to obtain their employer’s permission to change jobs while also establishing, for the first time in the region, a non-discriminatory minimum wage.
FIFA reported that in May 2021, the legislation on working during high temperatures (with outdoor work banned above 32.1°C) has witnessed a sharp decrease in heat-related cases in Qatar, “with 338 businesses being shut down for non-compliance since its enforcement.”
Two week ago, Infantino praised Qatar’s labour reform efforts and maintained that a “strong commitment” to ensure labour reforms are fully implemented is being shown by the government in Qatar, where the major sport event is taking place.
FIFA’s President was, however, accused earlier last week by the Head Coach of the KNVB for taking the tournament to Qatar due to “money” and “commercial” purposes and that is “the only thing that matters to FIFA.”