A week before the FIFA World Cup begins in Qatar, Philipp Lahm says it was “a mistake” to award the Gulf Arab country the rights to host it, as per AP.
Lahm heads Germany’s organising committee for the 2024 European Championship. The former footballer wrote in a column for Zeit Online that the World Cup “does not belong” in Qatar and also slammed the human rights situation in the country.
Lahm acknowledged that some progress was made “but homosexuals are still being criminalised, women do not have the same rights as men, and there are restrictions on freedom of the press and expression.”
He also called the plight of migrant workers “devastating.”
Lahm won the World Cup with Germany in 2014. Lahm also attacked FIFA for awarding the tournament to Qatar despite better candidates being available.
“FIFA has damaged soccer and its credibility as a western organization,” he said Lahm.
“Soccer isn’t a popular sport in Qatar and there’s practically no opportunity for girls to play,” he added.
These comments come in the wake of widespread protests in the Bundesliga and Germany’s second division from fans with similar concerns.
His column also comes after former FIFA president Sepp Blatter criticized Qatar as a choice.
“It’s a country that’s too small,” Blatter said.
“Football and the World Cup are too big for that,” he added.
It starts on November 20 and ends on December 18.
Qatar is the first Middle Eastern nation to host it and it’s the 2nd time the FIFA World Cup will be held in Asia.
This is also the first edition to be held in winter.
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