England women’s national team captain Leah Williamson has become the latest notable footballer to speak out against the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar.
“It’s a shame we’re heading into what should be the greatest spectacle on earth with this huge shadow hanging over it,” Williamson told BBC Sport recently. “And I’m not sure how we got here, if I’m being honest. I’m disappointed and I think it’s a shame because growing up watching the World Cup was one of the things that brought everyone together. .”
This year’s World Cup has long been seen as an opportunity for Qatar to “sport” its contested human rights record.
Reuters noted that World Cup ambassador and former Qatari international Khalid Salman called homosexuality a “damage to the spirit” even though World Cup organizers have insisted that everyone is welcome to visit the country for football’s biggest international celebration.
On November 6, ESPN mentioned that “independent reports indicate that the death toll among migrant workers could reach 6,500” in regards to the preparation for the World Cup.
“I think sometimes it will be appropriate to make sure it doesn’t happen again and to be a force for change,” Williamson added during his comments. “I will be supporting the boys but I’m not really into them as a fan this year which is sad.”
According to ESPN, England and Arsenal star Beth Mead said earlier this month that the Qatar World Cup is “not something I will support or promote at all”. Meanwhile, Everton midfielder Izzy Christiansen has stepped down from his BBC Radio 5 Live World Cup duties.
“I think in the preparation for the tournament over the last two weeks a lot has been said, I have read a lot and I have made the decision myself not to be involved in the tournament in any capacity. whatever,” Christiansen explained the decision in an interview with BBC Radio Merseyside. “I’m not comfortable with the conditions in Qatar and they certainly don’t ally with the things we approve of in the Women’s Super League. We just came out of Rainbow Laces month, I wore an armband with the Rainbow Laces flag on it, for me, I’m not comfortable endorsing or broadcasting about the tournament.
“I’m not comfortable broadcasting on an event that has so many bad examples of human rights, laws and practices in Qatar, so it was a pretty easy decision.”
World Cup matches start on Sunday.