Club World Cup: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is ‘wrong person’ to address Qatar issues

Jurgen Klopp says he is the “wrong person” to address concerns over Qatar’s human rights record.

Liverpool are in the country for their Club World Cup semi-final with Mexican side Monterrey on Wednesday.

Concerns have been expressed about the country hosting this event and the 2022 World Cup because of its stance on homosexuality and immigrant workers’ rights, among other issues.

“Organisers have to think about these things, not the athletes,” Klopp said.

“When sportsmen have to decide to be part of a competition, it’s not right.”

The Reds won the Champions League in June to qualify for the tournament, held at Khalifa International Stadium, which will also host matches at the 2022 World Cup.

According to a report by the International Trades Union Confederation in 2013, more than 1,200 workers from Nepal and India had died on construction projects in Qatar linked to the World Cup, including non-football infrastructure schemes, in the previous three years.

The ITUC said at the time that if deaths continued at that rate then they could reach 4,000 – although it has now dropped its complaints against Qatar following improvements in workers’ rights in the country.

Qatar has always disputed those figures, saying the deaths cannot be linked directly to the World Cup.

In February Amnesty International said that although progress has been made, Qatar “must step up efforts to honour labour rights promises” before the 2022 World Cup begins.

“I have an opinion on football but this is a real serious thing to talk about I think and the answers should come from people who know more about it,” Klopp said before Wednesday’s semi-final against Mexican club Monterrey.

“I have to be influential in football but not in politics. Anything I say wouldn’t help, it would just create another headline, positive or negative.

“I like that you ask the question but I think I am the wrong person.

“My personal opinion, I have one of course, is of course I think we should all be treated equally, that is clear.

“But we don’t have the time to judge things when we are here, we only have time for training.”

Paul Amann, founder of Liverpool LGBT+ fans group Kop Outs, was invited by the organisers of the 2020 World Cup to visit the country last month with his husband.

Amann, who is not in Qatar for the Monterrey match, although other members of Kop Out are, told BBC Sport: “Qatar has moved significantly in recent years, especially in migrant workers’ rights and in capacity and capability to host major events.

“I do not feel this has moved enough yet, but there is still progress being made and to be made.

“Football and its fans have a power to help change things for the better in Qatar for migrant workers, for LGBT+ people, and for our experience and safety at tournaments.

“The experience has led my husband to confirm that it was right that we took the chance and visited.”


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