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World Cup: FIFA send message to 32 teams in build-up to Qatar

World Cup

FIFA have written to all of the countries taking part in the World Cup later this month, pleading with them to “focus on football” as opposed to discussing the ethics of the event.

With concerns over the criminalization of same-sex relationships and the exploitation of migrant workers at the forefront of the debate, the decision of the organisation to award the tournament to Qatar has come under heavy fire in recent years.

FIFA have now urged all 32 countries to keep their focus on football after players and teams from all over the world were under pressure to stand up and defend the tournament, something Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp acknowledged is “not fair to expect.”

President Gianni Infantino and Secretary General Fatma Samoura penned the following in a letter obtained by Sky News: “Please, let’s now focus on the football!”

“We know football does not live in a vacuum and we are equally aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all around the world,” the letter added.

“But please do not allow football to be dragged into every ideological or political battle that exists.”

The letter ignores a request from eight countries, including England and Wales, to wear the ‘One Love’ armband in support of the LGBTQ+ community, and FIFA instead warns countries against activism.

In regards to wearing the armband, England and Wales have already vowed to disregard any FIFA warnings.

“At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without handing out moral lessons to the rest of the world,” Infantino wrote.

“One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it means having respect for that diversity. No one people or culture or nation is ‘better’ than any other.

“This principle is the very foundation stone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And this is also one of the core values of football. So, please let’s all remember that and let football take centre stage.”

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