FIFA management has written to World Cup teams urging them to focus on the tournament in Qatar and not engage in morality conferences and drag football “into any ideological or political battles that exist”.

Sky News has exclusively seen the full letter from FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the governing body’s General Secretary Fatma Samoura, which was sent amid growing pressure on players to be activists around the tournament.

It is a preparation for the World Cup driven by concerns about the suffering of poorly paid migrant workers to build infrastructure in the small Gulf country and discriminatory laws that criminalize same-sex relations.

“Please let’s focus on football now!” Infantino and Samoura have written to the 32 football nations participating in the World Cup.

“We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are also aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all over the world.

“But please don’t let football get dragged into every ideological or political battle there is.”

The letter falls short of a demand from England and Wales and six other European nations for their captains to wear multi-coloured ‘One Love’ armbands at the World Cup, in response to concerns over Qatar’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws. Both British nations have already said they will defy any FIFA ban.

Image:
FIFA President Gianni Infantino

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

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

“This principle is the cornerstone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And it is also one of the core values ​​of football. So please let us all remember that and let football take over. front of the stage.”

Infantino says everyone will be welcome in Qatar “regardless of race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.”

The letter was sent to nations participating in the men’s football showpiece with less than three weeks to go before the tournament in Qatar.

Infantino – and his management team – were not in place at FIFA when a tainted group of executive committee members voted in 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar.

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Klopp on Qatar World Cup protests

The last English side to play in Qatar was Liverpool in the Club World Cup in 2019. And Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp told Sky News this week it’s ‘not fair’ to wait political statements by players around the World Cup.

The German said: “They go there to play football. It’s not up to the players of this generation now to say ‘we’re not going there, or we’re not doing this’.

“Decision [to hold the tournament in Qatar] was made by other people, and if you want to criticize someone, criticize the people who made the decision.”

Full text of the letter

Dear Presidents, dear Secretaries General,

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is just around the corner and excitement for the world’s premier football festival is growing globally as we count down the days to kick off in Doha on Sunday 20 November 2022.

As one of 32 participating teams, you carry on your shoulders the hopes and dreams of your home country and all its people.

FIFA would like to assure you that everything in Qatar has been prepared to ensure that each participating nation has the best possible chance of succeeding on the ultimate footballing stage. The eight state-of-the-art stadiums, where all 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™️ will be played, will provide the perfect platform for the world’s biggest sporting event.

So please let’s focus on football now!

We know that football does not live in a vacuum and we are also aware that there are many challenges and difficulties of a political nature all over the world. But please don’t let football get dragged into every ideological or political battle there is.

At FIFA, we try to respect all opinions and beliefs, without giving moral lessons to the rest of the world. One of the great strengths of the world is indeed its very diversity, and if inclusion means anything, it is respect for that diversity. No people, culture or nation is “better” than another. This principle is the very cornerstone of mutual respect and non-discrimination. And it is also one of the fundamental values ​​of football. So please let us all remember this and let football take center stage.

Today at the FIFA World Cup, we have the unique opportunity and opportunity to welcome and embrace everyone, regardless of race, origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation or nationality. Let’s seize this opportunity and unite the world through the universal language of football.

Now we focus on football because #NowIsAll.

We wish you much success and an excellent tournament ahead!

Gianni Infantino President of FIFA Fatma Samoura Secretary General of FIFA

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